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Cornell University

Resources for Allies

Allies are individuals who are supporters and defenders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, intersex+ community. Allies are a vital part of the community. If you are an ally, you are welcome to join in on any of the events and programs that we hold. Please drop by the LGBT Resource Center to see how you can get involved! There is no pressure to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity unless you choose to do so.

Resources for Ally Education

LGBTQQIA Terminology Guide

Check out the Terminology Guide to learn more about the LGBTQQIA community.

Gender Inclusive Pronoun Guide

Common Questions on Gender Inclusive Pronoun Usage

Some people don’t feel like traditional gender pronouns (she/her, he/him) fit their gender identities. Transgender, genderqueer, and other gender-nonconforming people may choose different pronouns for themselves. The following tips are a starting point for using pronouns respectfully.How do I know which pronouns to use?If the person you’re referring to is a stranger or brief acquaintance (like a server, cashier, fellow bus patron, etc), you may not need to know. If the person is a classmate, student, or coworker, for example, it is best to ask. Try:
  • “What pronouns do you use?”
  • “How would you like me to refer to you?”
  • “How would you like to be addressed?”
  • “My name is Tou and my pronouns are he and him. What about you?”
How often do pronouns change?Remember that people may change their pronouns without changing their name, appearance, or gender identity. Try making pronouns an optional part of introductions or check-ins at meetings or in class.What if I make a mistake?Most people appreciate a quick apology and correction at the time of the mistake. Try:
  • “Her books are—I’m sorry, hir books are over there.”
By correcting yourself, you’re modeling respectful pronoun use for others in the conversation.If you only realize the mistake later, a brief apology can help. Try:
  • “I’m sorry I used the wrong pronoun earlier.
  • I’ll be more careful next time.”
When should I correct others?Some people may not want a lot of public attention to their pronouns, while others will appreciate you standing up for them. If someone uses the wrong pronoun for a person who isn’t present, try a brief correction:
  • “I think Sam uses she and her pronouns. And yes, I’m going to her house later too!”
It can be tough to remember pronouns at first. The best solution is to practice! Correct pronoun use is an easy step toward showing respect for people of every gender.What might this look like in other languages?Check out the links below for more information regarding Gender Inclusive Pronoun usage in other Gender neutral languageLong and comprehensive wiki-style list of ten languages with pronoun optionsMultilingual Pronouns listList of thirty-six languages and some pronoun options- some more detailed than others.Blog by Non-binary French people (in French, no longer updated but has archive)Series of posts/examples of Non-binary pronouns in German (in German)Non-binary pronouns in Icelandic (in English)Non-binary Gender in Japan: link list (in English)This has terms and narratives; unclear how much about pronouns
Gender Inclusive PronounsThere are two sets of commonly used gender-neutral pronouns:sie, hir, hir, hirs, hirselfzie, zir, zir, zirs, zirself
So instead of... You may use... Which is pronounced...
he/she siezie "see""zie"
him/her hirzir "here"like "sir" with a "z"
his/hers hirszirs "here's"like "sirs" with a "z"
himself/herself hirselfzirself "here-self"like "sir-self" with a "z"

Note: It is often also acceptable to use the third person plural (they, them, their, themselves) instead of the third-person singular (he/she, his/hers, him/her, himself/herself) when referring to someone who has not expressed a clear pronoun choice.

Learn about and engage in many of our signature programs on campus. For more information regarding ally engagement opportunities, please contact