Wondering whether a new acquaintance goes by he, she, they or ze, but unsure how to ask? Here are some tips the queer community on how best to ask someone their pronouns without outing them if they’re figuring it out themselves. Aaryanna Gariss, an average Chicago queer We need to change the narrative that asking for someone’s pronouns is awkward. Stating pronouns needs to become normalised. When we are at a point in a conversation and you introduce yourself with your name, it should be the next thing that comes out of your mouth. Cisgendered people, in particular, need to get used to using and owning their pronouns, so that queer people don’t have to feel pressure and outed. People tend to only ask about pronouns when someone is visibly androgynous. Which is troublesome because androgyny is rooted in problematic conventions, such as white and thin people in differently gendered clothing with a buzzed head. Maybe I want to find a way to assert my gender in a space. But if you don’t start that conversation, I am probably not going to. If we don’t normalise pronouns at the beginning of interactions, handling a misgendering becomes awkward and puts emotional labour on the non-cisgendered person later. The best way to ask for someone’s pronouns is to walk up and introduce yourself. Here’s an example, “Hey, my name is Hannah, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. What are your pronouns?” Asking people for their pronouns should ideally happen in small group situations. If people don’t want to disclose their pronouns, respect their wishes and do not push for them to give a response. You do not have the right to someone’s pronouns if the person is not comfortable discussing them with you. If introductions are happening in large group setting, the organisation should make sure cisgendered members also state their pronouns. Self-acceptance is hard enough for any teen, but there can still be extra pressure for LGBTQ+ youths If your interaction does not necessitate or require you to make a full introduction with a person, then it’s not the time to ask for pronouns. Honestly, remove gendered words from your language because there is no reason to have to address people with gendered language before you know them personally. If you must use a pronoun, use they/them pronouns until otherwise stated. Catherine Miller, non-binary casting director and rabble rouser The easiest step is to offer your pronouns first in a conversation. When you introduce yourself by saying your name and pronouns, it is an invitation to offer pronouns without nagging someone to come out in that instance. Doing this is opening a door where people can choose to walk in or not. It also activates every person in that conversation to share, if they choose to. Directly asking for someone’s pronouns is a somewhat common practice in the theatre community, specifically at the first rehearsal, so everyone can meet one another correctly, which is great. But I’ve also had many conversations with friends who don’t feel comfortable constantly announcing their pronouns. I believe giving people the option to say their pronouns is extremely important and enables everyone to have autonomy. This all depends on what space you’re in. The first time I felt good using my pronouns was because I was in a very queer space, which was in rehearsal for a play I was producing. Personally, I am not out about my pronouns at my day job. Part of that is because of the culture of the company and the fact I work in a field that is hypermasculine. A number of times, I have been in conversation with my colleagues, and one of them has made a generalisation about trans and non-binary people. And while in that moment, I will correct and attempt to have a teachable moment, I feel that if I were out, I would have to constantly educate people about my pronouns and gender. And I’m not getting paid to do that work. What are the best dating apps for the queer community? If there were more queer people in the company, then I would feel better about being out. But there are only a few people at my job who know. I am constantly dealing with impostor syndrome because I present as femme or female. My pronouns are a way to affirm my existence and validity. This article was curated by Young Post . Better Life is the ultimate resource for enhancing your personal and professional life.