Pronouns FAQ

What are pronouns?
Pronouns are words that are used to replace a noun. They can also be used to refer to specific people in place of their name. Personal pronouns refer to the pronoun a person uses for themselves. For example, if Taylor’s pronouns are she/her, you would say, “Taylor wore her coat because she was cold.”

Starting in January 2020, students, faculty, and staff may choose and share their pronouns within the Bowdoin community. More information about selecting pronouns and the display of pronouns in Bowdoin systems is available online.

Why are pronouns important?
Pronouns have an implied gender, and if we assume which pronouns to use for someone without asking, it might not accurately reflect their identity. Rather than assuming which pronoun to use, we can ask, so people feel respected for who they are, and we can help build a more inclusive community.

What pronouns can I choose?
Pronoun options include she, he, they (and combinations of these), xe, ze, as well as options to use your name, be asked, or to leave your pronouns unspecified. This set of pronoun options offers all students and employees the opportunity to select pronouns that align with their gender identities.

Table of options for pronouns





Possessive pronoun



He laughed

I called him

His eyes gleam

That is his

He likes himself


She laughed

I called her

Her eyes gleam

That is hers

She likes herself


They laughed

I called them

Their eyes gleam

That is theirs

They like themself


Xe laughed (pronounced zee)

I called xem

Xyr eyes gleam

That is xyrs

Xe likes xemself


Ze laughed (pronounced zee)

I called hir(pronounced here)

Hir eyes gleam

That is hirs

Ze likes hirself

None/use my name

[name] laughed

I called [name]

[Name]’s eyes gleam

That is [name]’s

[name] likes [name]’s self

Please ask

(Usage above depending on response)

(Usage above depending on response)

(Usage above depending on response)

(Usage above depending on response)

(Usage above depending on response)

Questions? Just ask!

Reach out to Natalie Turrin ( at SWAG with questions or to schedule a meeting or workshop.