What are Preferred Pronouns?

This week for Terminology Tuesday I want to talk about preferred pronouns.   This builds on the beginning of my series on pronouns, when I talked about pronouns and why they are important.

Preferred pronouns are tremendously overlooked, in part because of the way the LGBTQ+ community continues to communicate about them.

There are some people who are okay with several sets of pronouns, but will prefer one set over the others they are also okay with.  These are someone’s preferred pronouns.

This is not to take away from the fact that some people have pronouns, not preferred pronouns.  A significant portion of the trans* community adamantly defends their pronouns, primarily through posting about how their pronouns are their pronouns and not their preferred pronouns.  And this is okay for these individuals.  But there are some individuals who do have preferred pronouns, and the push to remove the word “preferred” entirely is not helpful to those who have more than one set of pronouns.

It is because of this I have been uneasily referring to my preferred pronouns as my pronouns in situations where I wanted to add “preferred” into it.  I don’t always think I need to say my pronouns are more of a preference over other pronouns, because to me I just don’t feel like it’s always necessary.  As much as I strongly prefer they/them pronouns over he/him and she/her pronouns, someone using the incorrect pronoun doesn’t always bother me.  But there are situations where I would have loved to say “preferred pronouns” over “pronouns” and haven’t, and at this point in my journey, that bothers me.

For those of you out there who have preferred pronouns, you are valid, and you are not alone.  You are allowed to have preferred pronouns just as much as you are allowed to have pronouns.  It all depends on how you feel about your own identity.

How do you feel about your pronouns/preferred pronouns?  Join the discussion!  Leave a comment, contact us directly, or find us on Twitter!

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