Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
How To Tell Someone Your Pronouns
Published Jan 7th, 2021 & updated on Mar 19th, 2021
Telling someone about your pronouns and asking them to use them can be a bit scary, especially if you’ve identified with a different set of pronouns before!
To make it a tiny bit less intimidating, let’s break it down into different scenarios. Asking the people in your life to use new pronouns, and even a new name, can actually be pretty simple (if you’re in a safe place to do so, obviously)! If you don’t quite know where to start or how to say it, come here you sweet baby angel. We’ve got you!
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming out for the first time or the millionth time (because let’s be honest, we never really stop coming out), it can be nerve-wracking if you aren’t sure what to say or what others’ reactions will be.
You might want to tell your coworkers, friends, classmates, peers, family, strangers, or even your pizza delivery guy your new pronouns and new name. But if you aren’t sure how to start this conversation and need a script, look no further! Actually, look a little further because we’re going to tell you what to say below.
1. Telling Your Friends & Family Your Pronouns
This scary (and exciting!) endeavour is probably going to be your first step in asking someone to use your pronouns. Whether you decide to start with your friends or with your family, you might find the script below useful to guide those conversations. We won’t be mad if you adjust it to suit you best! Actually we would really love that <3
What To Say:
Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I am changing my pronouns (and name if that applies). I’ve felt this way for a really long time and I feel the most like my true self when I use *insert pronouns here.* I would really appreciate it if you started using these pronouns too. I know there will definitely be an adjustment period and that it will take some getting used to, but I would feel really loved and supported if you used them.
2. When You’re Meeting Someone New
When meeting someone for the first time, you get to introduce yourself however you want! It’s a totally clean slate! We’re gonna give you an example of what to say, but this is really your time to shine and make that first impression however you want to!
What To Say:
Hi! My name is ___. I use ___ pronouns.
That’s it! Simple. Easy. Straight to the point!
3. When Running Into An Old Acquaintance
Now, let’s think about the opposite situation — you’ve run into someone that you haven’t seen in a while. This could be a doctor, a high school friend, a cousin. Anyone! They might deadname you (hopefully they won’t but they might), so this is your chance to reintroduce yourself to them and make your identity known.
What To Say:
Hey! It’s great to see you. I actually go by *insert name* and use *insert pronouns* now by the way. I don’t identify with my old name and pronouns anymore and I’d really appreciate it if you can use my new ones and new name instead!
4. Correcting Someone Using The Wrong Pronouns
Now, time to talk about the really shitty scenarios. If someone in your life is intentionally deadnaming you and using the wrong pronouns, that’s a hard situation to navigate. You’ll probably feel a million emotions all at once, and we’ll be the first to tell you that all of them are totally valid! Having your identity dismissed can be super painful. So, we’ll give you a little script of what to say in these tricky situations because it can be hard to keep your cool and think on your feet.
What To Say:
I just want you to know that when you use my deadname and my wrong pronouns, it really hurts me. If you don’t know what to say when referring to me sometimes, just ask. I’ll give you options, but please always use my new name and my proper pronouns.
If you’re ever in a situation where you are being bullied, harassed, threatened, or made to feel unsafe in any way, the best thing to say is, unfortunately, nothing.
As much as you’ll want to stand up for yourself and defend your identity, sometimes staying safe in a situation is the most important thing. We care about you too much to let anything happen to you!
We recommend that you practice these scenarios and little scripts. That way you are never caught off guard and know how to navigate the situation with confidence! Because you deserve to feel confident as fuck and we want to help you feel that way.
Going through the world as an individual whose gender identity has changed or is changing isn’t simple. Not even remotely. It requires an incredibleeee level of strength that we know is within you.
Remember, it’s important to be kind to yourself each and every day. It takes a fuck-ton (yes, that’s an actual unit of measurement according to us) of courage to live your life authentically and truthfully.
We are so proud of you for waking up each and every day and choosing to honour who you are. You’re a badass!