Pronouns are a beautiful thing. For many in the LGBTQIA+ community, they’re a way to communicate our gender identity and how we really see ourselves and want to be seen—in 2021, we said goodbye to heteronormative standards of identity and hello to self-discoveryyy. And, for us Gen Zers, we’re growing up in an age where having pronouns and being proud of them is not only welcomed but normalised. It’s an everyday casual thing. In fact, a quick skim through my TikTok FYP and I’m met with videos playfully nodding to people’s experience as an enby, femboys playing with mini-skirts, and a community of non-binary, trans, and non-conforming people.
Cut to Freya Waring, a 16-year-old Sydney-based high school student and one of the Ambassadors for Levi’s Pride 2021 campaign. At school, Waring always knew they “[weren’t] 100% a girl,” but still enjoyed their female identity. But, everything changed when they recently discovered that they can use multiple pronouns to define their gender expression.
“I didn’t realise it was possible to use multiple pronouns until last year, and that unlocked an insane amount of clarity,” they admitted to Syrup. “Right now, I use either She/Her or They/Them pronouns, although I’ve accepted that my journey with my gender identity is far from over. I’m still only a teenager after all, there’s a lot of experimentation I’ve got left to do.”
“For most of my childhood, I’ve been what you’d call a tomboy,” Waring continued. “It was pretty much a combination of that internalised misogyny you see in young girls rejecting pink and makeup, and secret non-binary gender identity that I wouldn’t realise for years.”
It wasn’t that they didn’t like femininity, they just never really felt comfortable expressing themselves with traditionally feminine things like dresses and skirts. It’s an experience that unifies many queer people who experiment with their pronouns to find a combination that serves them.
“There were a couple of euphoric moments I specifically remember,” they recall. “In between Years 6 and Year 7, I cut off my shoulder-length hair into a pixie cut and kept that for about four years. In year 10, my best friend started calling me handsome instead of pretty, and I loved it in a very confusing way.”
Whether you’re wanting to tell someone about your pronouns or are merely asking about someone else’s, there are a lot of different ways to start up a convo. For Freya, she admits that the way she talks about them depends on who she’s speaking to.
“Sometimes it’s easy to just announce that I go by She/They or They/She, and people get it immediately,” she tells us. “Others aren’t so versed on the concept of using multiple pronouns, and I end up with a ton of questions about which I prefer, if they should choose one or use both, if I’m okay with feminine nicknames, whether I use He/Him, and so much more.”
“Other times I just end up saying I go by She/Her, because I have a sneaking suspicion that they just won’t get it, and it’s time and energy I don’t want to waste in a debate. It’s not a pleasant feeling knowing that I have to simplify or repress aspects of my identity in order to be understood by some people, but I know that we’re not a completely accepting society yet. Luckily, those bad times are growing rare.”
While Freya grew up with LGBTQIA+ siblings and has supportive and accepting friends and family, not everyone has that luxury. If you, like Freya, have found yourself questioning your gender expression, and discovered your new preferred pronouns and want to tell a close friend, family member, or the deep dark web about it but are a little anxious, fret not! Not only have we been there but we’ve compiled ten helpful ways to talk ab your pronouns—y’know for if straight up ain’t your vibe 😉.
P.S. if you want to know more about pronouns and how to ask for someone else’s, click here.
10 Ways To Talk About Your Pronouns
Make a pronoun playlist
If you’re too afraid to vocalise your new pronouns to a friend, then why not spell it out in a Spotify playlist. Just like all those sappy rom-com mixtapes you made to the cutie-patootie in your life, why not come out via a playlist of songs, either by artists who use the same pronouns as you, or with songs that merely say, “Hi | I Go | By[e] | They/Them | She/Her | He/Him | Now.” In the words of that haunting YouTube video, “get creative!”
Slap it on your social bios
This is the easiest way to talk about your pronouns without having to actually say anything. Adding your pronouns to the bio of your Twitter, IG or TikTok is a simple but easy way to let people know how you identify.
And look, if you reallyyy wanna make a hoo-haa dance around this, we recommend posting a spicy pic along with the caption, “check my bio for the big news :)”
Come out via Cameo
If you don’t want to personally be the one to break the news, then why not pay for someone else to do it for you? Specifically, a non-binary, trans or They/Them badass who can very kindly—or loudly, if that’s your style—tell someone about your new pronouns.
Some queer talent that we recommend—if you have the dollary-doos to spare—include RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Gottmik, Aussie comedian, singer and Twitch streamer Jordan Raskopoulos, and genderqueer and deaf transgender artist, Chella Man.
Find a relatable tweet
Again, if you don’t want to be all deep and meaningful, why not send someone a tweet about pronouns. Find a specific one and send it with the caption, “lmao, this is me.”
Here are some non-binary and queer-related tweets that come to mind. If you were wondering, it’s me, I’m liege.
Wear Levi’s Pride 2021 collection
Take pride in your gender expression and literally wear it. Look, if you want to talk about your pronouns to literally everyone on and offline without having ~the conversation~, there is no other option other than wearing Levi’s new Pride 2021 collection. From cute crop tops for summer to denim jackets with rainbows and the word “pride” embroidered, there’s a lot to love about the new pieces.
And the best bit? 100% of net proceeds from the collection go to OutRight Action International, a non-profit working to defend and advance human rights for LGBTQIA+ people around the globe. Meaning that yes, not only will you look cute and show off your pronouns—and respect others’—but you’ll be helping to make a difference for queer people across the world.
For the collection, the stunning campaign features people like Bhenji Ra, a femme multidisciplinary artist from Sydney’s queer ballroom scene, wearing the iconic Levi’s logo—now in an eye-catching rainbow—and bolded out pronouns in white.
Facts are facts: if you want to go out into the world and take pride in your gender expression—and also look cute af while doing it—then wear these.
Levi’s Vintage Fit Graphic Shirt, $59.95 on Levi’s.
Levi’s Pride Liberation Trucker Jacket, $199.95 on Levi’s.
Levi’s Pride Community Tee, $59.95 on Levi’s.
Send them a voice memo
Okay bear with me here folks, this one is for the friend that you’re okay to be vulnerable with. If you can’t be bothered typing it all out, record yourself telling your friend that you go by a certain pronoun and hit send.
Spill some tea, face-to-face
If you want to tell someone in person and are a bit scared of doing so, find a time to meet at a neutral location, like a cafe or park, and sit down and tell them face-to-face. At the end of the day, if you want to talk about pronouns, the best way to do it is to just ask.
At the end of the day, if you want to talk about pronouns, the best way to do it is to just ask.
Send them a meme and ask if they’re “you know… 💅”
Whether you’re telling someone about your pronouns, asking about someone’s or merely trying to create a conversation about pronouns, sending over a funny meme about pronouns, non-binary, trans, and/or non-conforming queer culture can be the ice breaker moment that’ll let one of you ask the questions, “are they… you know?”
Write them a card from the Victorian era
If there’s one thing that’s made a resurgence in recent years, it’s speaking in ye old English and Victorian era hobbies. So, get your quilt out, ready your carrier pigeon, and write out a letter revealing your new She/Her pronouns to a friend.
Shoot them a casual text
“hey, just fyi, I go by He/Him now :)” or “hey, just a quickie, what are your personal pronouns?” or “Are you comfortable with me referring to you as x?” There might be some words that are traditionally gendered but that you consider gender-neutral—like “dude.”
Here, it’s best to check in with the person you’re talking to to see whether they’re comfortable being referred to in that way.
Wear your pride with the Levi’s Pride 2021 collection this Mardi Gras season here.