The Pronoun Protocol

The Pronoun Protocol for creating gender inclusive spaces
Creating SAFE SPACE for ALL GENDERS in Public and Educational Settings involves a way of speaking that fundamentally includes everybody all the time and interrupts the cycle of gender stereotypes and assumptions.

These agreements are designed to support adults in modeling gender-inclusive practices for kids. The Protocol also negotiates and respects privacy and safety in our current culture of oppression.

This is big, social justice work, but as usual, it's made up of many small, meaningful steps. Ideally engaging all 12 agreements is the goal but just beginning with one or two of the agreements will set a cascading effect of systemic change.

Why is this important?
LANGUAGE is one of the most effective and immediate ways everybody can create change. By establishing inclusive ways to speak, it moves us toward greater equity and respect between all genders and helps establish safe spaces for children free of the pressure of expectations.

Explore More: Dive into our quick 3 part primer, What are We Really Saying to Kids? and explore how to use language to be more inclusive.

Pronoun Protocol 12 Agreements

1. As a foundation, always use gender-inclusive words like people, person, kid, relative, sibling, parent, etc.

2. See people as people first without gender assumptions.

3. Don’t assume you know someone’s pronoun based on their name or appearance.

4. Use the singular pronoun they as a default in public for people you don’t know, instead of assuming he or she.

5. Use a person’s name if you don’t know their pronoun. If you must use a pronoun, you could use they.

6. Unless it is confirmed safe space, don’t ask someone’s gender or pronoun, it is theirs to tell or not when ready.

7. If someone shares their pronouns with you, use them.

8. Remember that people can have more than one pronoun and pronouns can also change.

9. There are more than two or even three pronouns. Learn about and practice ze, xe, using a name, and more.

10. If you slip into assumptions, apologize briefly if necessary, and simply return to the Pronoun Protocol.

11. Establish this as a standard to include everybody, whether or not there are non-binary people present.

12. Always use the Pronoun Protocol in public settings.