what to do if you’re having trouble with someone’s pronouns

k. so i know there are a fuck-ton of these lists out there, but i figure it can’t hurt to add my voice to the din. just remember to check out other cats’ suggestions on this topic cuz then you’ll be extra prepared. also, different situations are different. (where do i come up with these profound sayings? i dunno. i’m just a fucking genius, ok?) seriously, though, i’m sure there are lots of situations my list is totes inappropriate for, so use your judgement. also, multiple perspectives are always good cuz intersectionality.

anyway, in no particular order, here’s what i think you should consider doing if you’re having trouble with someone’s pronouns.

  • let the person know you’re working on getting their pronouns right.
    • be sure you’re not trying to guilt them into saying “oh, you poor dear! i’ll just let you misgender me then!”
    • also be sure they know you’re not trying to guilt them. lots of people tell me how haaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAaarrRd my pronouns are, hoping i’ll give them a free pass. (which will never fucking happen, btw. lawlno.)
    • basically, just let them know that you’re working on it and that you’re gonna keep working on it (i think this is super important). only say it once, though. please don’t say it every time you fuck up. pleaseplease don’t.
    • don’t ask them to have patience with you cuz if they haven’t fucking slain you yet, they are having patience with you.
    • don’t tell them you’re having trouble with their pronouns, though, cuz that sounds different from telling them you’re working on their pronouns.
  • ask them to correct you when you misgender them, but don’t expect them to cuz they may or may not feel comfy doing so.
    • it might be better to just let them know that you’re cool with them correcting you and that you would value the help if they chose to do so.
    • but really, skip this one if you think there’s a chance the person might feel obligated to correct you.
  • if someone does correct you, don’t make a huge deal outta it.
    • don’t apologize profusely or go on about how haaaaaarrrrrDd it is for you.
    • thank them for helping you with their pronouns, correct yourself, and quickly move the fuck on. people who do this are the best and i fucking love them. <3
  • fucking practice! it’s fun and it’ll sort you out pretty quickly.
    • you can practice alone or with a partner.
    • tell your partner (or some imaginary person) about the person whose pronouns you’re practicing; it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you use the person’s name and pronouns a lot.
    • at first, you may have to speak very slowly and use simple sentences. (ex. “andresa is an astronaut. plus, she like ravens.” etc.)
    • 1-5 minutes a day seems to be about all it takes.
    • lots of people in my life practice my pronouns like this and it fucking works.
  • correct yourself aloud every time you fuck up. don’t like, berate yourself or anything; just repeat what you said with the person’s correct pronouns. it’ll help you learn faster.
  • remember, this is your problem. make sure it stays that way. the person whose pronouns you’re having trouble with doesn’t need you to dump this on them.
  • also remember that the person probably notices what pronouns you apply to them even when you don’t notice. every time you don’t fuck up their pronouns, they notice. and they’re probably totes relieved.

however hard and shitty this is for you, you’re probably only dealing with this one person and their pronouns, but this person is probably dealing with everyone in their life. know what i mean? like, i deal with zillions of cats who have trouble with my pronouns, but the cats who complain about my pronouns only have to deal with one trans* person with “weird” pronouns. so really, the fuck are they complaining about?

thanks for reading! totes check out related writing on this topic. i’m actually writing this at my internet-free home, so i can’t just check online for you and post some links (i will if i remember when i post this), but try googling “what to do when you misgender someone,” “how to learn somebody’s pronouns,” etc. really, though, i’ll try to remember to find some related reading next time i’m somewhere with wi-fi.

and lemme know what you cats think about all this! i want your braiiiins—i mean your thoughts. cuz i’m not really a zombiiiiie.

or am i?!

your pronouns are hard

6 responses to “what to do if you’re having trouble with someone’s pronouns

  1. Pingback: Boy, Girl, Neither, Both? Why Assuming Is Awkward (And What to Ask Instead) — Everyday Feminism

  2. Pingback: Here's What's Okay (And Not Okay) to Say to a Trans Person – Once and For All — Everyday Feminism

  3. Pingback: You Know Those Common Objections to 'They' Pronouns? Here Are 9 Simple Facts to Shut Them Down — Everyday Feminism

  4. Pingback: Pronouns and Gender. | contagiousqueer

  5. Thank you for taking time to explain this to us forgettful cissypants people. Respect to you.

  6. thank you! found this googling how to remember pronouns after really struggling with one friend’s when I usually have no issues and I appreciate being told it’s ok and good to practice. that’s what i’ve been thinking i need to do but felt….idk, self conscious about it. i needed to hear someone else say it <3

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