This phrase means that when referring to me using personal pronouns, you should use xhe/xer. For example, “Echo isn’t here, xhe’s busy fighting crime.”
Why are you telling me this?
Most people are uncomfortable when someone refers to them with the wrong pronoun or address, and I’m no different. Not only that, but most people are embarrassed and upset if they misgender someone since it’s considered rude. Since I have a unique gender that isn’t immediately obvious, it’s easier for everyone if I tell people which pronoun I prefer.
How do I pronounce xhe/xer?
There’s a few options! In general I pronounce it as “ksee/kser”, but “ze/zer” or “tsee/tser” are totally fine. If audio is more your thing, here’s some options:
Regardless, there is no one correct way. The most important thing to me is that people try!
Where did “xhe/xer” come from?
My pronouns are known as neo-pronouns with neo meaning new. Despite being relatively new, they still go fairly far back in the English language!
Specifically, for xhe/xer, I made it up! Yes, that seems a bit odd, but it also are words that resonates deeply with me.
Why not she or he?
Because I’m neither a woman nor a man, instead, I am nonbinary. Everyone who identifies as nonbinary is different, but for me, this means I don’t have a male or female gender identity.
I am also not they, as those pronouns do not feel accurate to my internal sense of self. Not all non-binary people use singular they!
Using xhe/xer to refer to you is difficult/confusing/annoying. Can I do something else?
I find several polite activities difficult, confusing, or annoying as well, so I can sympathize. But using anything other than xhe/xer to refer to me is going to make me uncomfortable and not want to interact with you.
Please, under any circumstance, do not refer to me using he/him.
My language doesn’t have this pronoun. What do I do?
Unfortunately, not all languages allow for non-binary identities. In this situation, I would prefer you to err on the side of feminine pronouns. However, if you can, please use a non-gendered pronoun for me, and use my correct pronouns when speaking about me in English.
Regardless of your language, please do not refer to me using he/him.
What if I mess up?
That’s okay! Everyone (and I do mean everyone, including my fellow nonbinary friends) takes time to learn and adjust. All I ask is that you try – and if you use the wrong pronoun, just repeat the sentence correctly and go on. I know you aren’t mean and just made a mistake. To err is human, after all.
Where should I go to learn more about this stuff?
I linked to a few things further up, but here are some more resources:
Rooster Tails: Queer 101
A long, detailed, friendly comic guide to the basics of nonbinary sexuality, sex, and gender.
Robot Hugs: Pronoun Etiquette
A short comic guide to the basics of pronoun etiquette.