LGBT Pronouns: A guide and why they matter

The LGBTQ+ community faces many struggles, and one of the most pressing is how to refer to someone who identifies as something other than male or female. LGBT pronouns make people feel welcome so we should use them correctly.

The first thing we need to do is understand why pronouns are important. To respect someone’s gender identity, you must be use their Correct pronouns because using wrong pronouns hurts feelings, and nobody wants to do that.

We use pronouns in place of nouns when referring to people–they help fill a void created by not using someone’s name. But, when it comes down to it, you’re either respecting pronouns or misgendering people; there isn’t an in-between option here!

Pronouns exist in every language, not just English. Keep reading so you understand common pronouns and how and why they are used around the world.

How do I respect LGBT pronouns?

If you’re unsure of someone’s LGBT pronouns, ask them. Do not simply assume the pronouns are male or female based on their appearance/masculine or feminine qualities. Use people’s preferred pronoun -whether it be he, she, they (singular), ze (singular), zie (plural) or neo-pronouns is common sense if you have a mindset of acceptance and openness.

For those unsure, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase in the sentence structure of an English language form. Pronouns can be classified by person (first-person, second-person, third-person). Third-person pronouns can be those that hurt others, so make sure you understand them!

Pronouns in an LGBTQ+ exclusivity context

First-person LGBT pronouns don’t change. They are still I, me and mine. Second person pronouns in the lgbtq+ context don’t change either. They’re still you and yours.

Third-person pronouns are tricky for some people to understand. They refer to a person you are mentioning during a conversation. You should use the third-person pronoun of that person’s choice. 

We also have neo-pronouns – which sounds like a big word, but the concept is simple if you have acceptance in mind.

What are Neo-pronouns?

Neo-pronouns are LGBT pronouns that can be combined with “he” or “she”. Some such are xe, zi, and co for people who don’t identify as a gender binary. Those in the LGBTQ+ community often use this to represent their identity better.

Some less known neo pronouns are used by people who identify themselves as agender, gender-fluid or neutrois.

Neo pronouns are also used by those in the autistic, asexual and neurodivergent communities to represent their identity better. Some neo pronouns besides xe and si are xem (singular) and zeir or zer (plural).

Neo-pronouns are important because they allow individuals to be represented appropriately. When the individual does not identify with a binary gender, it is inappropriate for someone else to assign them a pronoun without their consent.

Bun and bunself is another pronoun used by a person who does not identify as male or female.

The following is a list of neo-pronouns that one can identify with :

List of LBGT pronouns in a chart

ze, zir, zer (singular) and zeirs or zers (plural).

xe, xem (born female), xyr; per xis preference

hie/hir-self; per hie/hir own preference

muh-self; per muh own preference.

LGBT pronouns can seem like a lot for people new to inclusive vocabulary and how we speak and respect each other, but it’s not a new concept. People have recognized a third non-gender for centuries.

Are Third-Gender Pronouns New?

No, they aren’t. All around the world, people have used alternate pronouns for centuries, although many people in English speaking countries might not be aware. 

In Mesopotamian mythology, we see the earliest reference of a third gender. For example, the goddess Ninmah was looked at as neither male nor female. 

We also have evidence of “third gender” in Zapotec culture, specifically called muxe. Muxes are biologically male but live as women and often marry other men. They have roots in Mexico and you can read more about them on this fantastic and culturally rich blog wearequeerhere.

In North America, Native American tribes have long recognized gender fluidity with a third gender category: “two-spirit.” The Lakota tribe, for example, has four genders: male, female, feminine male (“winkte”), masculine female (“okanye”). 

The North American Mohawk tribe has three genders: masculine females and feminine males (known as “huhu”) and the third gender of neutrals. Neutrals have a female spirit but may adopt male dress and roles.

Some cultures have even more than three genders: the Bugis from Indonesia recognize five (masculine female or “calabai,” feminine male or “dodola,” androgynous person or “joko jogo”).

The third gender is seen amongst the hijra of India, kathoey in Thailand, and bakla of the Philippines. In the Hijra society in India, the hijras were born considered third sex and traditionally taken on feminine social roles such as dancer or, Jinthe kurgarra (a male who takes on a feminine identity) in the Andaman Islands and the fa’afafine in Samoa. 

In Africa, many tribes use more than two genders. For example, the Khoisan Tribes have four: male, female, hermaphrodite and nurupari (“manhood”). 

Gender-neutral pronouns are not specific to English

Argentina is leading the way for gender-neutral language in Spanish. The movements in the Spanish-speaking world are similar to those of English, with an added focus on sexual orientation and nonbinary genders.

Argentina is using “p/per” for a third gender (“los per”), while Chile has adopted “mxe” (pronounced meh) as its pronoun for non-binary.

Guarani is a language used by Indigenous peoples of South America. It has no specific gender-specific pronouns; however, they have nonbinary gendered ones: Ñande (feminine) or Nde’nde (masculine). 

Xier, xieser, xiem, xien, xies, xiese, xiesem. These are gender-neutral German pronouns that can be used instead of the gendered third-person singular system of sie/er (she/he), ihr/er, die/der. They offer a neutral means to refer to non-binary gender identities or do not prefer assigned female and male pronouns.

The genderless pronoun in Brazilian Portuguese: ou (feminine for “she” or “he”)

The Quechua language of Peru has no gender-specific pronouns.

How can we politely and conclusively ask someone their pronouns?

The biggest problem arising from using correct pronouns is not knowing how to ask someone their pronouns in an inclusive manner. The easiest solution is to ask, “What pronouns do you use?” politely. 

Some people find it easier to offer their pronoun first as a way of easing the process. However, we can also say: “I don’t presume your gender identity based on how I see you or what we have talked about before. What are your pronouns of choice?

As the LGBTQ community continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial that all people feel welcome. In this blog post, we’ve talked about how pronouns can help make your writing more inclusive of everyone in our society. We hope you have learned something new today! 

If you want to learn even more from us about being a queer ally, sign up for our newsletter below so we can keep you updated on what’s going on with lgbtq+ issues. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone else–we promise! Or check out our lifestyle blog. Thank you and as always, have a gay day!

What is a gay Activist and who are they?

Gay Activists Worldwide

The United States and the UK have many gay activists who fight for equality and justice. Everyday they fight for our rights. Elton John, an English gay activist, Lil Nas X, George Michael, and Laverne Cox are just a few who come to mind. In this list we never want to recognize those from different parts of the world. Why do their struggles never get told?

There are .any notable and successful members of the LGBT community in an all-out battle with their respective governments. Now let’s hear about them and their stories because they fight for equality and acceptance. 

In this list of famous LGBT artists and activists you’ll learn about less known activists with remarkable stories. We want you to keep reading to learn more and recognize them during this pride month. 

LGBT Prominence in the Middle East

It’s no secret that the Middle East is not the most gay-friendly, this is important. Some countries such as Iran and Brunei, governments slaughter us for being who we are.

For this reason, I think that makes the story of these artists that much more exciting and worthy of being shared. For those who may not know about them, here are some worlwide activists.

Çağla Akalın

Çağla Akalın model shoot

This trans gay activist, actress, and model making waves in the Middle East. She holds the first pageant title of any transgender person in Turkey won 2013 at the Miss queen competition.

Her activism is being outspoken about the oppression faced by the LGBTQ community living in Turkey. An online content platform even received a fine after having her on the show to talk about her experiences. 

Because of this she is an icon for the gay rights movement in the Middle East. She is more than worthy of this list.

Dalia Al-Faghal

Dalia Al Faghal instagram photo

Coming out as the first lesbian Egyptian is hard. Being gay in Egypt, like many countries in the Middle East, is illegal. 

The social stigma surrounding homosexuality is very prominent in the Middle East. They oppress so badly that a British man had his life support turned off in Cairo. After he died the country refused to send his body back to the UK. 

The gay activist Al Faghal grew up in Saudi Arabia then came out as lesbian and immediately faced backlash. People sent her death threats and messages comparing her to animals. Some even resorted to saying that she is the cause of the apocalypse.

Mashrou’ Leila

Mashrou Leila interview about lgbt rights

For starters, this is a band, not a person. They have a long history of being outspoken and political regarding gay rights in the Middle East. Originally from Lebanon, this band has had many concerts canceled. 

One concert in Egypt became a national scandal after videos and pictures of it were released. Simply for including the rainbow flag and people standing in solidarity, they got cancelled. In their music, they aim to give a voice to the voiceless.

Asian Allies and Human Rights Defenders

Many Asian countries accept and recognize diversity, but others greatly shun it. Here are some LGBT celebrities that break the mold and transcend the pitfalls of oppression in Asia.  

Leslie Cheung

Leslie Cheung with makeup

This gay activist deserves more credit as a true star. His activism and overtly gay music have inspired many in the Chinese-speaking world. Leslie showed gay people are positive and worthy of acceptance and equal rights. This same-sex marriage. 

His defining moment came in 1997. During a queer performance in he danced on stage intimately with a male dance to his song “red.”

In 1998 he received mockery at the Hong Kong film awards, describing a motion picture of his as vomit-inducing. 

After a long struggle with depression, he sadly committed suicide on April 1, 2003. You will always live on in our hearts as the pioneer that you are, Leslie!

Xian, Bin Xu

Xian Bin Xu smiling on a chair

This activist became inspired to begin fighting for our rights in China after studying abroad in the USA. She works for Common Language, an NGO, and is considered a driving factor in China’s LGBT movement. 

Ji Mi (吉米)

Ji mi Chinese celebrity

Ji Mi is often viewed as the first celebrity to publicly come out as gay in mainland China. This singer challenges the status quo with his music and movies. He founded a vocal school in 2000 geared at cosmetology and later developed his own cosmetics line. 

The LGBT Human Rights Watch of Europe

Pedro Zerolo

Pedro Zerolo speaking out for gay rights

Pedro zerolo ensured that Spain was one of the first countries in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. For his activism, he gained respect across all political factions.

Unfortunately, he passed away on June 9, 2015, from pancreatic cancer. This sent the nation’s LGBT people and those worldwide into a state of remembrance. Thank you, Pedro. We won’t forget your efforts.

Rosa Von Praunheim

Rosa van Praunheim gay director and artist

A gay director and artist who began fighting the good fight in 1967 and received an award for this short film titled “Pink Workers on Golden Street.” Through his works, he sought to inspire the apolitical members of our community into activism and encouraged them to come out of the closet. 

Rosa Von Praunheim understood the value and importance of standing together. We should not cower at the hands of homophobic people. Let’s challenge governments and institutions worldwide to accept us.

Lady Phyll

Lady Phyll black LGBT activist

Lady Phyll is a proud Black woman and British gay rights activist. She has challenged the notion of history in Britain and its teachings from a young age. 

She fights for fair representation of BAME and LGBT minorities. We don’t learn about this in history in the United Kingdom. This makes her a strong supporter of the civil rights movement.

She is worthy of this article because she is fighting for fair representation. Not for just one oppressed minority, but many. Her continuous searching for a coalition to human rights violations is applaudable.  

Gay Activist in the Americas

Claudia Lopéz

Caludia Lopez in front of fountain

Claudia López is Bogotá’s first openly gay mayor. Not to mention, the second most notable politician to hold office in her municipality.  She spent her career exposing corruption within the Colombian government. She brings to light the struggles of the LGBT people within the country. 

In December of 2019, she married her wife, representative Angelica Lozano Correa and took office in January of 2020. 

Keila Simpson

Keila Simpson Brazilian trans activist

As an activist of the LGBT movement since 1990, Keila Simpson leades the National Association of Transsexuals (ANTRA). She served as vice president of the Brazilian Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex (ABGLT) group in Brazil. 

She also served as the national council to combat LGBT discrimination in Brazil in 2013. As a result, she received the National Human Rights Award. This award is for outstanding service provided to the LGBT population in Brazil. 

She is continuing to fight for the LGBT population in Brazil. She serves as coordinator for the Center for the Promotion and Defense of LGBT rights(CPDD).   

Ilse Fuskova

Isle Fuskova LGBTQ activist

This well-known Argentine activist fights for both LGBT rights and women’s rights. She is also known for her activism. Her art and films and led her to come out of the closet on live television in Argentina. She’s currently 91 years meaning she has decades of activism fighting for equality. 

Australian Gay Civil Rights Activist

Andrea Pejic

Andrea Peji trans model

Andreja Pejić is an icon for LGBT individuals everywhere for a multitude of reasons. In 2011, she walked the runway for Marc Jacobs as the first androgynous supermodel, walking for male and female shows. She repeated this feat numerous times and later came out as transgender. 

As a result, Pejić was profiled by Vogue magazine. Later she signed a cosmetics contract with the internationally renowned brand. Making her the first openly transgender model to do so. She also became the first transgender woman to cover GQ magazine in 2016. 

Her visibility as a transgender supermodel has done wonders for advancing the acceptance of LGBT individuals in the fashion industry

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the less well-known activists that are fighting for equality and human rights. It’s essential to recognize those who are doing great work. Because even if they don’t have fame, we would have no progress without them.

Do you know of any others that we can add to this list? Please let us know in the comments

As always, have a gay day!