The need for gender-neutral third-person singular English pronouns has been apparent and tried since the birth of its modern form.
True Neutral Pronouns[edit | edit source]
True neutral pronouns are pronouns that can be applied to any person regardless of gender. Most pronouns in use by the trans/nonbinary community are not neutral, and could be considered nonbinary pronouns instead, as they are gendered as such.
Singular They/Them/Their/Theirs/Themself[edit | edit source]
One truly neutral pronoun in use is singular they/them. This pronoun, while debated by linguistic purists, has been in use since at least Shakespeare's time. It is most commonly used to refer to a person whose gender is not known, for example, "Someone is at the door, I wonder who they are."
It is widespread etiquette within trans communities to use singular they until a person's pronouns are known. From that point on, if the person's pronouns are not singular they, it would be misgendering to refer to them as such.
One/Ones/Oneself[edit | edit source]
While the pronoun "one" is traditionally an indefinite pronoun, roughly meaning "a person" and is thus gender neutral. With the need for new pronouns, it has been adopted by many as a third-person singular pronoun, changing it to be specific and definite. This pronoun is one of only a handful of pronouns in use by trans/nonbinary people that is truly gender-neutral.
It/Its/Itself[edit | edit source]
Another truly neutral pronoun is "it". While "it" is typically used to refer to objects or animals, there are a handful of trans/nonbinary people who feel most comfortable using these than any other pronoun. Others find this pronoun used as a personal set to be dehumanizing and indignate.
Nonbinary Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Pronoun neologisms are the norm among trans/nonbinary communities. While many of the pronouns in use may be decades old, such as Spivak, Elverson, MacKay, or humanist pronouns, while others could have been coined recently for a lack of nonbinary pronouns.
Common pronouns[edit | edit source]
Noun-Based Pronouns[edit | edit source]
Some people feel their gender rates to a noun, and feel confident in a noun-based pronoun set. The most common one for a noun based pronoun to be phrased is nounself. For example, if a person's gende- related to doors, for example, doors pronouns could be door/doors/doorself. These types of pronouns would classify as being nonbinary pronouns generally, but people with binary genders (boy, girl, man, woman etc) could also use a noun based pronoun set.
Noun-based and non-binary pronouns have caused a lot of controversy amongst people experiencing dysphoria, the transgender community, the LGBTQ+ community, and transphobic people alike. Many people say that these pronouns are invalidating and mocking to "real transgender people" who stay in the main binary area. Most people who experience dysphoria are just looking for any way to alleviate the feeling, and if these pronouns help you personaly then you should experiment in a safe environment. An important thing to remember is to stay calm and kind if someone doesn't get your specific noun-based/non-binary pronoun correct every single time.
Binary Pronouns[edit | edit source]
DISCLAIMER: There are two sets of binary pronouns which are most commonly used, but some people with binary genders use atypical pronouns. This section is not to invalidate their relation to their gender, however is to educate people on the most commonly used pronoun sets by people with binary genders. Friendly reminder that pronouns do not equal gender and that people who use pronouns atypical to their gender are just as valid as people as those who use typical pronoun sets,
He/Him/His/Himself[edit | edit source]
The pronouns he and him have typically been used to refer to men and boys, however, it also has had a previous historic context of being a default pronoun for a non-specified person, likely due to the patriarchal societies which developed the English language. That being said, in a modern setting, the pronoun "he" gives the impression of a man being the person being referred to. Another popular non-man usage of he/him pronouns is he/him lesbians. This could be because of the historical context of butch lesbians using he in lesbophobic societies, or for other reasons. Overall, it depends on the pronoun user and what makes him comfortable.
She/Her/Hers/Herself[edit | edit source]
The pronouns she and her have typically been used by women and girls.