Why do some people use the pronouns she/she and he/she? (2023)

When Elliot Page came out as trans in December 2020, he revealed that his preferred pronouns were "he" and "she." With that, she joined the ranks of other celebrities who have embraced "rolling pronouns," includingthe crownsEmma Corrin (her/her), lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way (him/her),Grey's AnatomyStar Sara Ramírez (her/them) and singer Kehlani (her/them).

But what exactly are rolling pronouns, and why do some people prefer them to a single sentence? And how do you use them respectfully? Read on to find out.

Related:Why should we add pronouns to our email signatures?

Why do some people use the pronouns she/she and he/she? (1)

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What are roll pronouns?

Rolling pronouns refer to the use of multiple pronouns that are used interchangeably or can change over time. Typically, people who prefer to use multiple sets of pronouns also encourage others to switch between them or confuse them when speaking or referring to them.

ocean 2020gender census, around a third of transgender and non-binary people prefer to use two sets of pronouns. More than 10 percent said they were satisfied with three or more sentences.

Why do some people prefer to use continuous pronouns instead of just one sentence? For some, the use of continuous pronouns provides an opportunity to acknowledge their relationship to a specific gender.

For example, a person who identifies as a non-binary lesbian wants to assert that despite her identification as a non-binary person, she still feels connected to some parts of her womanhood or femininity, particularly her lesbian identity. Then you can choose to use the pronouns sie/sie.

Gendered people require multiple pronouns to assert their fluctuating gender identity. For example, Jonathan Van Ness ofstrange eyeFame, who uses the pronouns she/he/them, explains: "The older I get, the more I think I'm non-binary, I'm not gender-conforming. Some days I feel like a man, but other days I feel like a woman. ”.

Others use rolling pronouns as an act of defiance in a society that demands binarizing gender or trying to place it into neat categories. For those who believe that gender is not fixed (at least in the way they experience it), the use of multiple pronouns is a way to break oppressive gender roles and norms.

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A post by Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn)

What does she/she mean?

She/they pronouns are pronouns commonly used by non-binary people who were assigned female at birth and transgender people. Typically, people use the pronouns she/they to express their connection to femininity while affirming their non-binary identity.

Author and podcast hostAdam's powersexplains the use of the she/they pronouns as follows: “I identify as female, but also as non-binary. I don't feel like femininity tells my whole story, but I don't get completely lost either. But someone else might use the same pronouns to communicate something else, like "She/She's fine, but I use it too and I'd probably like to have it once in a while."

What does he/she mean?

He/she pronouns are often used by non-binary people who are assigned male or trans-masculine personas at birth. As with she/they pronouns, people can use he/them pronouns to honor her connection to her masculinity while also expressing the importance of acknowledging their non-binary or gender identity.

O Kantor Gerard Way eStar Trek: DiscoveryStar Ian Alexander are two examples of people using the he/she pronouns.

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How to use rolling pronouns

Rolling pronouns can be rotated or changed from one sentence to another or from one conversation to another within the same sentence. But how do you know exactly when to toggle each set of pronouns?

Depends on the person. Some people prefer to use their pronouns interchangeably during a conversation or text. For example: "She's coming to the party. You just got caught at work. But others may prefer one set of pronouns to another on different days. This is especially true for gender-fluid people who waver from one gender identity to another." other.

The bottom line? Just ask. If someone tells you that she uses multiple sets of pronouns, ask her what she prefers to be called. Some people will have a basic set of options to use consistently, while others will insist on using all pronouns interchangeably. Don't be suspicious just because of their appearance or behavior, or even the way others have referred to them in the past.

It is also important to note that some people enter their pronouns in order of preference. For example, some people might start their pronouns for her with "she/they", while others will use "they/them". If in doubt, just ask here.

Why do some people use the pronouns she/she and he/she? (2)

Why are gender pronouns important?

To understand why pronouns are so important to transgender and gender non-conforming people, it's important to understand gender dysphoria, or the feeling of stress or discomfort that arises from the disconnect between the gender assigned at birth and gender identity. For people suffering from dysphoria, having a name or pronoun that doesn't match their identity can be very uncomfortable, even painful.

In fact, studies have found that intentional misinterpretation or dead-names (using the wrong pronouns or original name) by trans and gender non-conforming people are associated with increased incidences of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Chosen pronouns and nouns help confirm a person's identity and personal idea of ​​their true self. Denying someone her name and her preferred pronouns would be like denying her her identity.

Why do some people use the pronouns she/she and he/she? (3)

How to be an ally to trans and non-binary people using rolling pronouns

If you want to please your transgender and non-gender friends, the easiest thing to do is to respect their preferred pronouns and chosen names. It's that easy. Never intentionally change gender or call your friends or anyone else whose names and pronouns you know.

Don't know someone's favorite pronouns? When meeting someone for the first time, it's always best to introduce yourself using their first name and preferred pronouns. This gives the other person a clear indication that you are someone they can trust to respect their pronouns and encourages them to introduce their own if they wish.

Keep in mind that not everyone is in favor of asking others for their personal pronouns, especially in a public setting. This is because some people may still be discovering their gender identity, while others may not want to reveal it.

Additionally, there are a few other ways you can be a suitable ally to people who use rolling pronouns, including:

  • Include your favorite pronouns in your social media bio and email signature:This normalizes the idea of ​​sharing a person's personal pronouns, making it easier for trans and gender non-conforming people to do so without feeling awkward.
  • Reading books and articles and consuming media written by transgender and gender non-conforming people:LGBTQ people often do the emotional work of explaining LGBTQ concepts to cis-straight people. This can be mentally draining, as LGBTQ people often have to dig into personal experiences that can be painful to unearth.
  • Advocate for LGBTQ people at school or in the workplace:If you see a classmate, teacher, colleague, or boss misunderstanding or insulting someone, make an effort to stand up for that person and explain why it's important to honor their name and pronouns. LGBTQ people are often too afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job or being scrutinized more closely.
Why do some people use the pronouns she/she and he/she? (4)


Knowing and correctly using gender pronouns is important, especially for transgender and non-binary people. Rolling pronouns are a new way of using gendered pronouns that more accurately reflect the diversity of gender (and people's relationship to gender) in our world. By using spinner pronouns correctly, we can create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Related:Kevin Sorbo ridiculed "Herculean stupidity" for not knowing what pronouns are

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