My pronouns are:

e/em/eir

(Spivak pronouns)

Example usage in sentences:

  • I think e is very nice.
  • I asked em if I can borrow eir pencil.
  • E told me that the house is eirs.
  • E said e would rather do it emself.
Coined by Michael Spivak in 1990 for his manual The Joy of TeX to avoid gendering people in the examples.

Table:

Subject Object Possessive determiner Possessive pronoun Reflexive
e /i/ em /ɛm/ eir /ɛɹ/ eirs /ɛɹz/ emself /ɛmˈsɛlf/

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Examples from cultural texts:

Spivak pronouns (e/em/eir)

  • Michele KirichanskayaInterview With Maia Kobabe (Geeks OUT), 2020

    • Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator from the Bay Area, California. Eir first full length book, GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR, was published in May 2019. Maia’s short comics have been published by The Nib and in many anthologies including THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEKS, FASTER THAN LIGHT Y’ALL, GOTHIC TALES OF HAUNTED LOVE, SHOUT OUT, ADVANCED DEATH SAVES and BE GAY, DO COMICS. Before setting out to work freelance full-time, e worked for over ten years in libraries.
  • Smash PagesSmash Pages Q&A: Maia Kobabe (Alex Dueben), 2019

    • Maia Kobabe has been making comics for The Nib, and anthologies like Mine!, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, The Secrets Loves of Geeks and elsewhere for years, but eir first book is the just released Gender Queer: A Memoir from Lion Forge.
    • Gender Queer is an exploration of identity, an explanation of what the term means, but more than that, it’s a thoughtful look at coming to understand oneself over time and what it means to be human. Maia and I spoke recently about the book, working with eir sibling on it and reluctantly crafting a memoir.
  • Author: Maia Kobabe (The Nib), 2019

    • Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator with an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts. Eir first full length book, GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR is forthcoming from Lion Forge in May 2019. Eir work focuses on themes of identity, sexuality, anti-fascism, fairy tales, and homesickness.
  • Bogi Takács: About the Author (Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 105), 2015

    • Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person (e/em/eir/emself or they pronouns) and a resident alien in the US. E is a winner of the Lambda award for editing Transcendent 2: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, and a finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards. Eir debut poetry collection Algorithmic Shapeshifting is out now from Aqueduct, and eir debut short story collection The Trans Space Octopus Congregation was published in Fall 2019 by Lethe Press.
  • Bernardine EvaristoGirl, Woman, Other, 2019

    • they discussed the best gender-neutral alternatives such as ae, e, ey, per, they, and tested each word to see if the words tripped off the tongue or “tripped over it, ditto with the alternatives to his and hers: hirs, aers, eirs, pers, theirs and xyrs

  • Ann LeckieProvenance, 2017

    • “No,” said the person sitting in the suspension pod. “I don’t even know who that is.” E noticed the cup Captain Uisine was proffering. “Thank you,” e said, and took it, cupped it in eir hands as Captain Uisine stopped the blanket from sliding off eir shoulders.
  • Michael D. SpivakThe Joy of TeX. A Gourmet Guide to Typesetting with the AMS-TeX Macro Package (The quotes are from the 2nd edition (2004 reprint), the original was published in 1982), 2004; Note the capitalization of the pronoun. Spivak himself, doesn't provide a reflexive form.

    • Just as ‘I’ is the first person singular pronoun, regardless of gender, so ‘E’ will be used in this book as the third person singular pronoun for both genders. Thus, ‘E’ is the singular of ‘they’. Accordingly, ‘Eir’ (pronounced to rhyme with ‘their’) will be the possessive, and ‘Em’ (rhyming with ‘them’) will stand for either ‘him’ or ‘her’. Here is an example that illustrates all three forms: E loves Em only for Eir body. (p. xv)
    • If a book designer wanted to use underlining extensively, E would have to design a special ‘\ul’ font in which each letter has an underline as part of it; of course, the letters g, j, p, q and y would be one of Eir design problems. (p. 18)
    • If the author uses such notation, it should be up to Em to indicate Eir intentions clearly, but there’s no harm checking first. (p. 63)

What's the deal with pronouns?

We all have pronouns. They're those words that we use instead of calling someone by their name every time we mention them. Most people use “he/him” and “she/her”, so we automatically assume which one to call them based on someone's looks. But it's actually not that simple…

Gender is complicated. Some people “don't look like” their gender. Some prefer being called in a different way from what you'd assume. Some people don't fit into the boxes of “male” or “female” and prefer more neutral language.

This tool lets you share a link to your pronouns, with example sentences, so that you can show people how you like to be called.

Why does it matter? Because of simple human decency. You wouldn't call Ashley “Samantha” just because you like that name more or because “she looks like a Samantha to you”. Or even if she does have the name “Samantha” in her birth certificate but she absolutely hates it and prefers to use “Ashley”. And it's the exact same story with pronouns – if you don't want to be rude towards someone, please address them properly. The only difference is that we usually know names, but not pronouns. We introduce ourselves with a name, but not pronouns. Let's change that!

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