There are too many gender-neutral pronouns

Non-discriminatory languageNon-binary Personal pronouns communicate with you

Every job advertisement says today (m / f / d). We no longer have to enter male or female only in the identity card. But in the German language there are only "he" and "she" in personal pronouns. In other countries, on the other hand, other personal pronouns have established themselves. Katja Vossenberg knows where we stand in Germany.

In German, the topic of non-binary pronouns has not yet been finally clarified. For this reason, no alternative personal pronoun has been established so far. But there are many neopronomers, that is, word creations, to talk about a person without giving their name. Here is a small selection.

Lots of personal pronoun alternatives

  • Sier - a mix of the personal pronouns he and she.
  • sie_er or er_sie - a duplication of both binary personal pronouns, which are separated from each other by an underscore.
  • Also there: nin.

Some non-binaries, i.e. people who identify neither with the female nor with the male gender, insist on being addressed exclusively by their name or use the neuter "it" for themselves. This may cause confusion at first, but non-binary people aim for a positive connotation.

If you look abroad, the use of gender-sensitive language looks very different. In English "they" and in Swedish "hen" for non-binaries.

Active communication helps

Mo Zündorf is also non-binary and, through the Fairlanguage initiative, advises people and companies on how to deal with non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive language. Mo advocates actively communicating one's own pronoun.

"Whether it's the pronoun you were assigned at birth or a new pronoun, everyone does it."
Mo Zündorf is itself non-binary

This is how Mo Zündorf speaks about his own work context. Everyone should also communicate their own pronouns in order not to mark non-binary persons as different or conspicuous and to ensure that, for example, leaving out personal pronouns is no longer unusual. Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Katja Vossenberg names rounds of introductions as an example. The name with the associated personal pronoun can simply be mentioned. Another possibility: the personal pronoun could be added in email signatures. This then makes it easier for others to address them.

The idea behind this is to get everyone used to communicating the pronoun. This way, non-binary people are not excluded. Katja Vossenberg sums it up as follows: "You can't look at people's pronouns, and neither can their names."

Mistakes are not a problem

If you've ever used the wrong pronoun, that's no big deal, says Mo Zündorf. A serious apology and the question of whether there is something you can do for the non-binary person or whether they need a moment for themselves helps.

In conversations on the topic, the personal relationship of trust plays a major role in whether it is okay to make a question, for example.

"Everything depends on what relationship I have with the person and what questions are appropriate for our relationship. Would I, for example, want to share something from my private or sex life with this person?"