Op-Ed: Respect Neopronouns

A neopronoun flag. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A neopronoun flag. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Pronouns play a crucial part in communication within our society, from referring to someone else or ourselves. 

“She/her/hers” are often considered feminine pronouns, and “he/him/his” masculine. The pronouns “they/them/theirs” can refer to a single person or a group of people without masculinity or femininity. Besides “they/them,” another group of pronouns can be gender non-specific: neopronouns. 

Neopronouns are a kind of pronouns that people of any gender can use. People who don’t feel comfortable with the pronouns “he/she/they” will often use neopronouns. Some example of new neopronouns are “xe/xem/xer,” “ey/em/eir,” and “ze/hir/hirs.” 

A subcategory of neopronouns is nounself pronouns. Nounself pronouns are pre-existing words turned into a pronoun. Any word can be used for nounself pronouns, so theoretically, there’s an infinite amount. 

If you have social media, you might have seen people talking about neopronouns in a negative way. Some people think they are stupid or satirical when they are not. While some transphobic people mockingly say their pronouns are “attack/helicopter” or “nor/mal,” those could very well be used by someone who uses neopronouns. 

So, how do you use neopronouns? I’m glad you asked.

If you were referring to someone who uses “xe/xem/xer” pronouns, you might say, “Xe went to the store,” or “That backpack belongs to xem.” Then, referring to someone who uses nounself pronouns—let us use “bug/bugs/bugself” as an example—you’d say, “Bug went to the store by bugself.”

Educational Resources

If there’s more you want to learn about neopronouns, gender, or the LGBTQ+ community in general, here are some links. 

This PDF shows how to use neopronouns indifferent forms like subjectively and possessively. 

Another great resource is this website on Teen Talk; it talks about several different gender identities, what gender is, and support for transgender youth. 

And if you are looking for general information about the LGBTQ+ community, this PDF has an 11-page glossary of terms.