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Pronouns Matter

One key element of making Chemeketa a safe space for people of all sexes and gender identities is the respectful use of gender pronouns.

Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. We frequently use them without thinking about it. Often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied. These associations are not always accurate or helpful.

Mistaking or assuming peoples' pronouns without asking first, mistakes their gender and sends a harmful message. Using someone's correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity. Chemeketa's Diversity and Equity team aims to advance the knowledge of using everyone's correct gender pronouns and strive for a more inclusive environment at the college.

Read more to learn about pronouns. Chemeketa employees may use nametags that include their pronouns - see examples below.

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are words that refer to either the people talking (like you or I) or someone or something that is being talked about (like shethey, and this). Gender pronouns (like he or them) specifically refer to people that you are talking about.

Using gender pronouns

People may choose to use a variety of pronouns. Below is a list of some commonly used pronouns and how they are used:

SubjectObjectPossessivePossessive PronounReflexive
He Him His His Himself
"He waved" "I texted him" "His book" "That is his" "He trusts himself"
She  Her  Her Hers Herself
"She waved"  "I texted her" "Her book" "That is hers" "She trust herself"
They  Them Their Theirs Themselves
"They waved"  "I texted them" "Their book" "That is theirs" "They trust themselves"
Ze (or Zie)  Hir Hir Hirs Hirself
"Ze waved"
"I texted hir"
"Hir book"  "This is hirs" "Ze trusts hirself"

This is not an exhaustive list. It is good practice to ask which pronouns a person prefers.

Why is it important for Chemeketa faculty, staff, and students to respect gender pronouns?

  • The college's Respectful College Community Policy set a clear direction for all members of the Chemeketa community to appreciate and celebrate differences in others, creating an environment of equity and inclusion with opportunities for everyone to reach their potential.
  • Asking Chemeketa community members what their gender pronouns are and consistently using them correctly is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity. This can determine within the first few minutes if they will feel respected or not.
  • Discussing and correctly using gender pronouns sets a tone of allyship. It can truly make all of the difference, especially for new community members that may feel particularly vulnerable in a new environment.
  • You can't always know what someones gender pronoun is by looking at them. When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or hurt.
  • Many people may be learning about gender pronouns for the first time, so this will be a learning opportunity for the Chemeketa community. You will be setting an example for your colleagues.

How can I be inclusive in using and respecting gender pronouns?

Incorporate gender pronouns in everyday use, with these strategies:

  • Edit your email signature to include your pronouns
  • Verbal introductions and check-ins are great opportunities to solicit gender pronouns. As names and pronouns can change over time, it is preferable to regularly incorporate these questions into meetings and introductions. Asking about a person's pronouns may initially feel awkward or uncomfortable, but it is preferable to making hurtful assumptions and using the wrong pronoun. Here are some ways you can do this:
    • "What pronouns do you use?"
    • "How would you like me to refer to you?"
    • "How would you like to be addressed?"
    • "Can you remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?"
    • "My name is Joshua and my pronouns are he, him, and his. What about you?"

Employee name badge and business card ordering

Employees may request two different name badge sizes, please see ordering instructions and examples below for each size.


Your personal pronouns may be added to the additional information field of the name badge order form, as seen below.

 small badge pronouns example

Your personal pronouns may be added along with your department to the name badge order form, as seen below.

 small badge 2 pronouns example


Your personal pronouns may be added to the additional information field of the name badge order form, as seen below.

 large badge pronouns example

Business cards

Pronouns may be added to business cards by using the additional information field as seen below. Please add the term "Pronouns:" for context.

 business card pronoun examplebusiness card 2 pronoun example


Content sourced from UC San Francisco LGBT Resource Center.