Gender Pronouns

In English, the commonly used pronouns that refer to a person are gendered with the single (not plural) male/female binary. Not everyone identifies with these genders. To reduce the need to continue outing oneself or avoid uncomfortableness in asking, one can elect to include the pronoun others should use to refer to them.

For safety of individuals, as well as to be more trans-inclusive, the hope is to normalize the preliminary identification of which pronoun to use. Some people use a gendered pronoun, single (he/she) or a plural pronoun (they). One’s identity may change, so it’s important to be aware that the pronoun may change.

If you know of students who may be struggling with gender pronoun issues in class, please refer them to the sample email below.

Pronouns—A How-To Guide

Subject: [1] laughed at the notion of a gender binary.
Object: They tried to convince [2] that asexuality does not exist.
Possessive: [3] favorite color is unknown.
Possessive Pronoun: The pronoun card is [4].
Reflexive: [1] thinks highly of [5].


(Taken from “Pronouns – A How To Guide Cards” posted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at

Sample Email

Professor __________,

I am a student in your (insert class name here). I am getting in contact with you to let you know that I identify as (insert identity here). My name will probably show up on your roster as (insert legal name here), but I would prefer to go by (insert chosen name here) and (masculine/feminine/neutral) pronouns. I will be putting (insert chosen name here) on my assignments and would appreciate it if you called me by that name in class.

Thank you very much.

(Sign with chosen name)