Pronouns are “words we use to refer to people’s gender in conversation - for example, ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people may prefer others to refer to them in gender neutral language and use pronouns such as they/their and ze/zir.” (Stonewall). People may change the pronouns they go by.
We encourage staff and students to introduce themselves with their pronouns, for example, in meetings, classes and by including them on email signatures. This helps create a more inclusive environment and avoids making assumptions about someone's gender identity based on their appearance, name, their gender expression (or presentation), or other characteristics.
Ideas on how to introduce and use pronouns
Introducing yourself and others in meetings, seminars and other occasions
- Get into the habit of introducing yourself with your pronouns.
- Try to get in the habit of using ‘they/them’ until you know someone’s pronouns, e.g. “There is someone here to see you, I’ll ask them to take a seat”.
- Use the name and pronoun that the person asks you to. If you aren’t sure what the right pronoun is, ask. If you make a mistake, correct yourself and move on.
Add your pronouns to your email signature by putting your name (he/him), (she/her) or (they/them) or “My pronouns are...”. This helps everyone to refer to each other in a respectful way.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams
Add your pronouns to the end of your name.
Add your pronouns to your bio or your screen name on the social media platform(s) you are using.
Policies and letters
There is no reason to use gendered pronouns in any policies or letters you are writing (unless writing to a specific person and they have already told you their pronouns). Check through your work and replace 'he/she' with 'them' and if addressing letters or emails, use a gender-neutral address such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Student/Colleague”.
Internal resources (LSE)
Cisgender or Cis
Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people.
A person whose gender identity is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.
Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois.
A person whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
A person whose biological sex falls outside of the binary of male and female.
The former, or legal/previously legal name of a transgender individual whose preferred name is different to that which they were given at birth. The deadname should be avoided.
A person’s gender identity is their internally-held feelings and beliefs about whether they are a man, woman, boy, girl – or neither or both. This might align with the sex assigned at birth (cisgender) or it might not (transgender).
A person’s gender expression is how they choose to express their gender identity – through their name and pronouns, their clothing and hairstyle, or their way of speaking or behaving. A person’s gender expression might include different characteristics we associate both with masculinity and femininity. What is perceived as masculine or feminine can change historically and cross-culturally. We should try not to assume we know a person’s gender identity based on their gender expression.