Frequently asked questions

Our mission

We fight for freedom, respect and inclusivity in language.

  • Freedom – so that everyone can use for themselves whatever pronouns they feel describe them best.
  • Respect – so that other people's pronouns are respected.
  • Inclusivity – so that when we're referring to a person we don't know or a group of people, we don't assume their gender and don't exclude them for any reason.
What is nonbinary?

Gender is way more complicated than just a simple distinction male/female. Even from a purely biological standpoint we distinguish chromosomal sex, genetic sex, hormonal sex, phenotypic sex… They aren't necessarily congruent with each other, they don't have to be binary. (more info here). And when we get to the cultural aspect, “gender” is a social construct. Depending on time and location being “a woman” or “a man” can mean having radically different rights, duties, norms… In Europe men used to wear high heels and stockings, and native peoples of North America have been recognising a third gender for centuries (two-spirit), etc. etc.

Nonbinary is an umbrella term describing the identity of people who don't fit the binary man/woman distinction. It includes for instance people who are agender, gender fluid, demigirls, demiboys, and many many others.

Nonbinary isn't necessarily something “between” masculinity and femininity. More like “beyond”. Nonbinary people don't have to be androgynous, don't have to use neutral pronouns, etc. It's about being free from gender roles, not about creating new ones.

Why should I respect some strange pronouns?

Because addressing people in the way they want to be addressed is the basis of social relations. You wouldn't call Ashley “Samantha”, you wouldn't drop “sir”/“madam” when addressing your supervisor, etc. And there's people who don't want to be called either “he” or “she”. If you don't accept that, it only shows you in bad light.

“Strange pronouns” are just a matter of getting used to.

Those pronouns are made up!

Yes. Yes they are. And so is every single word in every language. Some words are just older than others.

How do I know how to address someone?

You can just ask! Yes, it might be a bit awkward, but the more we do it, the less awkward it gets. If we can ask somebody their name, why not their pronouns?

(Just please don't phrase it as “are you a boy or a girl?”. This question implies that there's just two correct answers, and it suggests unhealthy curiosity about someone's genitals. Instead, you could just ask “what are your pronouns?” or “how should I refer to you?”)

It's also important to normalise simply telling people your pronouns when you introduce yourself. “Hi, I'm Michæl, he/him”. It's not hard – but for trans and nonbinary people it means so much! It's even easier done online: just put your pronouns (or a link to examples from our website) to your bio.

Remember also that many people might use a different name and a different set of pronouns depending on situation. They might not be out among family or coworkers yet, but among friends be comfortable living their truth. Be mindful. You might for instance ask them “which pronouns should I use in front of your boss?”, etc.

Some people give multiple pronouns, eg. “he/she” or “they/he”. That means they like all of those forms. Usually, the first one is the preferred one.

Does anyone even use that?

Yes! Millions of enbies all around the world. Every pronoun listed here has someone that actually uses it in everyday life.

Are those nonbinary pronouns approved by some kind of authority?

Language is not some kind of god-given, ancient magic set in stone. It's just a tool that we use to communicate. When we change as a society, and when the world around us changes, we adjust the language we use to be able to better describe it. We're its users, so we're the authority on how we want to use it.

Dictionaries take their time to start including those changes, which doesn't make the change illegitimate in any way. But eventually the new forms, if used often enough, get included in dictionaries. Merriam Webster, for example, accepts the use of singular “they” as a nonbinary pronoun.

You can also read some academic papers on neopronouns.

Why should I put my pronouns in bio on social media?

If you're cis (= not trans) and you use “he” or “she” matching your gender, you might think that your pronouns are obvious. And yeah, maybe that's true – as long as your name is mentioned in the profile (and is traditionally male of female) or if you have your picture as avatar. Many people don't – so it's hard to guess how they want to be called.

But it's mostly about something more than that: your pronouns might be “obvious”, but there are people whose pronouns are not. They want to be addressed correctly, whether or not they “pass” as their gender, whether or not they have transitioned (or if they want to transition at all). Nonbinary people usually “don't look nonbinary”, we don't owe anyone androgyny.

Sharing our pronouns is very important for trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people. Alas, it also exposes and singles us out. But if cis people do the same, it means the world for us. It makes us feel more comfortable, safe and welcome (more reasons here).

Can I change my pronouns?

Of course! Nobody is surprised when someone changes their views, style, hobbies… So why would it be strange that they discovered a part of their identity, stopped liking their name, discovered a label that fits them well, etc.?

Is it strange that I can't get used to my own new pronouns?

Not at all! After many years of using pronouns congruent with one's gender assigned at birth it's easy to forget oneself when switching to different ones.

Pronouns ≠ gender. Your gender won't drastically change just because you got confused once when someone called you “them”. Don't worry. Experiment. See what fits you best.

Why shouldn't I say “preferred pronouns”?

Because this phrase suggests that someone's pronouns are just a whim. If someone just “prefers” to be called she, he won't _really_ feel bad, if I call him a “he”, right? They look like a guy, after all, so it's gonna be easier for me!

No! It's our pronouns. Not our “preferred pronouns”. It's our names, not our “preferred names”. If you care about your trans and nonbinary friends and loved ones, then call them the right way.

Why shouldn't I say “gender pronouns”?

Because gender ≠ pronouns. Pronouns are just grammar. Nonbinary folks can use binary pronouns, some lesbians use he/him for cultural reasons, etc.

Simply say “pronouns”.

Aren't there bigger problems to solve? Shouldn''t we focus on world hunger instead of some pronouns?

The same issue might seem trivial for some while being very important to others. Imagine that almost every sentence you hear about yourself is grammatically built on a lie about your very identity. That even simple conversations make you dysphoric, no matter what they're about…

There are different kinds of problems in this world, but we shouldn't be comparing them as an excuse to dismiss those that we don't really want to solve. There's eight billion people on this planet – we can manage to work on multiple issues at once! Every person has different needs and different resources available.

Our collective doesn't have the resources to feed the world, to stop wars or global warming. What we do have, though, are the skills and energy to shape and promote a more inclusive language – so that's what we're doing, instead of giving up and doing nothing.

Respecting other people's pronouns and identity doesn't require much effort. Even if you're a person that's solving the biggest challenges that humanity is facing, you can easily manage to not be transphobic in the process.

Why are pronouns usually given as two forms, like “she/her”, instead of just saying “she” or instead of listing all the forms?

In English there are five forms of gendered personal pronouns, so if we wanted to be precise, we'd need to list all of them, for example: “they/them/their/theirs/themselves” or “he/him/his/his/himself”. That's already a lot to put in your bio or introduce yourself with, and some languages require way more info than that (eg. in Polish there are up to 12 forms of gendered personal pronouns alone, plus different endings of nouns, adjectives and verbs). But usually not all of that information is necessary in those situations, the whole pronoun set could be easily “compressed” to just a “she” or “he” or “xe”, etc.

On the other hand though, reducing it to just one form won't have the advantage of adding extra context. If a person sees just a “ve” in someone's bio and they're not familiar with the neopronoun “ve/ver”, they will struggle to understand the meaning of that random “ve”. But it became pretty much a standard convention that “xxx/yyy” means a pronoun set – so there's a big chance that upon seeing “ve/ver” they'll know immediately that those are the person's pronouns.

Adding a second (or sometimes third) form also clears up some ambiguities, eg. between ze/hir and ze/zir or between e/em/eir and e/em/es.

Basically, the two-forms convention is a compromise between keeping it brief and making it very obvious that a given string of characters is a pronoun set, and it also keeps things unambiguous. This convention became so popular that it made its way into other languages (although not strictly, for example in Portuguese people usually give three forms) and we even incorporated the ( / ) into our logo.

Can you add this flag? Can you remove that flag?


Maintaining the list of flags and labels is an increasingly time-consuming task for our team. It's also challenging in terms of filtering out trolls and vandals from valid, good-faith identities. We don't want to be identity police. And we don't want to spend all our time on managing flags either. It's a project about language and pronouns, after all, not about flags. They're just a bonus.

We did our best to select a list of flags that are the most popular and, to our best knowledge, generally accepted. We are not planning to extend or shrink that list.

We are aware that a few flags might not be liked by some (eg. because of a history of TERFs trying to take over a term and make it transphobic, because of multiple confusing definitions, or even because of aspects of a life of a mythical character). We are queer and trans ourselves, we care about our trans siblings. Unfortunately, it's really hard to make such decisions when we get messages both from trans people asking to add a flag they honestly identify with, and also from other trans people asking to remove it because it somehow hurts trans people. It's not like history of every label is clear or like there's an authoritative source to look it up. And even if queerphobes try to make some terms hurtful, we believe in the community's power to reclaim hateful terms.

If you don't like a flag, just don't use it. If your flag is missing, just upload it (it will be marked as user-generated to mitigate vandalism).

Interestingly, the Unicode Consortium implemented a similar policy regarding proposing new flags as emoji 😉

My pronouns aren't listed

There's a generator on the homepage, you can use it to create a link to any pronoun set you like.

You can also just list the five forms using slashes, eg. ze/zem/zir/zirs/zirself. Keep in mind that all five forms are required in that case, otherwise the app can only guess what exactly you mean.

Is there a mobile app?

Developing multi-platform mobile apps requires a lot of extra effort, and at the moment we've decided to focus on other goals.

But this website is a Progressive Web App, which means you can add it to home screen in your mobile browser – and it will behave basically like an app 😉

Can someone search for my card?

We don't publish any list of active usernames that one could search through or open them one-by-one. People should only know your username, if you share a link with them (or if they randomly guess it).

Through noindex and robots.txt we ask search engines to stay away from the cards. Keep in mind, though, that not all of them respect such directives, and that we've only added them recently, so the webpages already crawled by them earlier (eg. when their crawlers stumbled upon a publicly posted link to your card) might stay in their cache for some time.

You decide what's in your card – remember that depending on what you put there (like links to your social media), it might be easy for people who stumble upon your card to identify you.

Can I have multiple cards under one account?

That must be the most requested feature so far! 😅 We're definitely onboard with the idea, it would help for example systems or people who want to have a separate cards for more public use and for close friends. Unfortunately, this feature requires tons of changes in the code as well as testing. We'll try to prioritise it, but being swamped with other work, we can't really promise any specific date.

Can I customise the “legend/opinions” field even more?

Next to the default opinion choices (like “Yes”, “Jokingly”, “Nope”) you can now specify your own. Those that had already existed before we added customisation have to remain the same, to make cards more predictable and consistent. Whoever stumbles across a card and sees, let’s say, a bold pink entry with a heart, will know without checking the legend that it means an option that one likes very much. Adding new opinions is customisable, though.

We're not planning to support fully customisable colours (like picking just any hex code) because we'd rather hand-pick them to ensure they have enough contrast, distinguishability, and a dark mode version – for the cards to be readable and accessible.

When I click a “delete” button nothing happens

Some buttons on our website, mostly related to removing things that aren't easy to restore, show a modal window asking “are you sure you want to do XYZ?”. We're aware that some browser extensions mistakenly think that this modal window is a cookie popup or an ad and just hide it.

We're trying to be very explicit in our HTML markup which elements are which, so that such extensions have an easier time distinguishing them, but it's very difficult to accommodate all possible extensions.

Before you report an issue, please check if disabling such extensions fixes your problem.