In what should surprise no one, human gender identity is more complex and nuanced than the conceptual frameworks on which most of us were raised. Expressing a preferred pronoun helps, but there’s a problem with that approach.

The de facto assumption is that people who identify as male prefer he/him, those who identify as female prefer she/her, and others (e.g. non-binary folks) prefer they/them, however, any perceived or assumed gender identity should always be overridden by a stated preference.

Fair enough, but this implies that I need to maintain a mental map of everyone I know, whether they’ve ever shared a pronoun preference, and, if so, which one. I’m not good at this sort of thing so I’ve come up with a solution: from now on, I’m using they/them/their for everyone, except when someone indicates a clear preference for gender specificity.

To make this more explicit:

old new
he/him/his they/them/their
she/her/hers they/them/their
they/them/their they/them/their

This is efficient (one set of pronouns instead of three), inclusive (assumes nothing about gender), and doesn’t tax my toddler sized memory. It has the added advantage of versatility: the same pronouns work for both singular and plural cases.