Fellowship 101: Paying Attention to Pronouns

picture of silhouettes and a rainbowHe, she, they, ze …

Over the next few months, you may notice a growing attention to pronouns.

In our guestbook, the membership team is now asking visitors what pronoun they wish to be called (he, she, they, ze …). It is also adding pronoun preferences to some name tags. In addition, the team would like for us all to remember to ask others about pronoun preferences.

The reason? To be an even more welcoming fellowship.

For hundreds of years now, people have been forced into boxes that often did not fit: male, female, heterosexual, homosexual …

There are many ways of being, and we want to fully honor them. This means ending our assumptions and stopping to ask and to honor. Depending on an individual’s wishes, it also means violating an outdated grammar rule that many of us hold dear and using the word “they” for a single person.

I know. As a writer and editor, this is hard for me, but even newspapers have made the switch. As of 2017 the Associated Press Stylebook, the big rulebook for most media, says that “they” may be used as a singular form for a person who wishes it.

Since our first principle is to honor the inherent worth and dignity of the individual, let’s ask, honor the individual’s choice and celebrate the many ways of being.



Michelle Ouellette
Membership Chair