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UAL is committed to creating a welcoming, supportive environment for everybody. Using pronouns sensitively is one way in which we can make trans, non-binary, genderqueer and gender non-conforming staff, students and visitors feel supported and welcome.

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are words that refer to a person or an object in place of their name. For example, instead of using a person’s name, you might refer to them as ‘she’, ‘he’ or ‘they’. The most commonly used pronouns are:

  • She/her/hers.
  • He/him/his.
  • They/them/theirs.

Why are pronouns important?

Pronouns, like names, are how we address people. They reflect a person’s identity, experience and gender, so it’s respectful to remember and use a person’s correct pronouns.

Research has shown that using incorrect pronouns can make people feel excluded, misunderstood and unappreciated.

How do I know what to use – and what if I get it wrong?

It’s important to remember that you cannot always tell a person’s pronouns from their name or appearance, so try to avoid making assumptions.

You might want to lead by example by introducing your pronouns: ‘Hi, I’m Ash. My pronouns are he/him, how should I address you?’. If you’re unsure, go for the neutral ‘they/them’ – don’t worry, it’s totally acceptable to use plural pronouns to refer to one person.

We all make mistakes, and you might not get it right the first time, but the important thing is to be respectful and mindful of how others prefer to be addressed.

Top tip: in lectures, seminars and meetings, you might want to introduce yourself with your pronouns to encourage others to do the same and to make everybody feel comfortable and welcome.

Find out more

For more information, check out our full pronouns guide (Word 11KB), which includes further information on how you can best support your colleagues and students.

If you want to find out more about this and other LGBTQ+ matters, you can contact the following:

Arts SU LGBTQ+ Society

LGBTQ+ Staff Network

UAL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion