Welcome to the archived TIMP!

Welcome to the complete They Is My Pronoun archive!

For eight years, TIMP was hub of information about gender-neutral person pronouns of reference, as they were beginning to emerge into common usage. Readers came to TIMP with questions about how to navigate pronouns like singular they for one person, and before a generation of young Standard English speakers would grow into adolescence already having this ability.

TIMP’s readership peaked in 2017 at 30,000 unique visitors and declined steadily thereafter, likely because of an abundance of wonderful pronoun resources springing into being. Increasingly, I would direct Tumblr question askers to posts where I had already answered their questions. Questions also began to be more personal, with visitors asking me whether or not they were ‘really’ their gender identity, which of course is not for me to say. Between directing some readers to prior posts, and directing others to resources, the original purpose of TIMP has drifted as, amazingly, societal recognition of and facility with gender-neutral pronouns (particularly singular they) has expanded.

In 2018, on the strength of TIMP, I was contacted by an editor at Adams Media (An Imprint of Simon & Schuster) and contracted to write Gender: Your Guide – A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture. This book is TIMP between two covers, and contains everything I have learned about navigating gender diversity in everyday life, pronouns included. It is the best of, and more than, TIMP.

And so, today on June 14th 2020, after a remarkable eight years in the life of gender diversity, I am archiving TIMP for good. Everything will remain here for the years to come, but I will no longer receive visitor questions or comments here or on TIMP’s Tumblr.

TIMP has been part of a gender language revolution, and I am grateful to every one of my visitors for making this happen alongside me.

With respect,


Original TIMP Welcome

Whereas many blogs or news stories on singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun are invested in the debate as to whether ‘they’ as a singular pronoun is grammatically correct, TIMP is different.

Instead of focusing on grammar, TIMP focuses on actually using singular they in real life, and on enabling the choice to use gender-neutral pronouns for yourself or for others.

TIMP is dedicated to a few simple ideas:

1. You are not a bad person or homophobic or transphobic or ignorant just because using they stresses you out.

There are many reasons why using they as a singular pronoun is hard. TIMP is about recognizing this and exploring where resistance comes from. TIMP offers suggestions for working through difficulty, and not arguments about why it shouldn’t be difficult.

2. When people respect your choice of pronoun, this feels really good – good enough to make a big difference in someone’s quality of life and well-being.

Most people who have not had to ask others to use a particular pronoun do not realize how good it can feel when someone gets it right, or shows you they are trying. You can generate so much happiness, make such a large contribution to someone’s well-being, and even make someone feel better about being in a workplace or group or get-together, just by using the pronoun they ask for, and apologizing when you make a mistake. You can make someone want to come back to your office, clinic, store, house, or Facebook page. It is truly astonishing what a difference this can make.

3. Using they gets easier with practice and time, and it is worth it.

So, scroll on down and stay tuned to TIMP for answers to questions (which I accept, even anonymously, on my twin Tumblr site)* from users, allies and curious questioners of all kinds, reflections and resources on singular they!

*TIMP’s Tumblr no longer accepts questions.



  1. Howdy, is this how i ask a question on this blog? heck if i know.
    I am agender. I am transitioning into letting everybody i know that they should not refer to me directly, indirectly, in speech or thought as he/him/sir anymore cause it is incorrect and limiting to me.
    As well, i feel that being adamant about having people recognize that i am not a man nor a woman of that binary, nor am i any other gender, and that i have no sense of gender for myself, is a way of spreading awareness that ‘they/their/them’ is totally okay and right and that gender is a seriously fluid thing if we let it be.
    I feel uncomfortable calling anybody else any pronouns besides they/their/them because i feel that the point of a pronoun is to refer to a specific person, place, or thing without describing it in any way. I am anti misgendering people, so i try not to gender people at all. I am encouraging of understanding the identity of a person to the extent that they feel comfortable with me understanding their identity, but i feel like there is a weird connection between gender and pronouns that seems kind of arbitrary and it affects people’s thinking and conditioning in a super significant way, which i am not really a fan of. I recognize that you shouldn’t call any woman ‘he’, or any man ‘she’ or any non-binary person either of those either….hm, but actually, don’t some people who identify as women prefer ‘he’….and that just seems to take away from the whole point of having a gendered pronoun at all.

    IS IT OKAY TO CALL EVERYBODY ‘THEY’? WHY/WHY NOT? i mean ethically. i feel like some people would mind, and maybe i should be asking a person who DOES go by a gendered pronoun. i feel like im still respecting them and their identities in calling everybody ‘they’ and if they are offended then that may be something that they may need to personally work through, though i don’t want to be a stubborn, insensitive person, i just dont want to cater to every person’s sensitivities. Where would i draw the line? xe is not super easy to read or pronounce, and hir seems like it should be said “her” as in ‘sir’ ‘fir’, which is confusing and seems to take away from part of the idea of a neologism (deliberately designing a new word to articulate something in a super clean manner). I am not willing to honor every person’s neologistic pronouns, such as those listed in the dozens on certain blogs. At that point, i feel like one should just change their name, because again, these are pronouns and are not meant to describe a persons experience or expression or feelings in any way. And if i am not honoring those pronouns, i feel like it is only fair to not honor any special pronouns (xe/ze/she/he included). That would just contribute to the marginalization of those people with unique gender identities that don’t fit into he/she.
    I feel super comfortable acknowledging people’s gender identity and defending it and being like “uh yo what the heck, don’t say ‘he.’ michel is NOT a man. and they** just made that hella clear in their slam poem where they clearly poured out their whole dang heart to demonstrate that to you and the world.” IS THAT OKAY???? it feels so right to speak like that.


    1. In some cases refusing to use she/her for a woman or girl, or refusing to use he/him for a man or boy, is something sexist bullies to on purpose to harass that person for not being “feminine” enough or “masculine” enough for the bullies’ standards.

      These bullies outnumber you.

      When I hear someone refuse to use she/her for me, it’s more likely that this person is trying to bully me than trying to respect me, and I’m going to protect myself from this person the way I would protect myself from anyone else doing someting that looks and sounds like bullying me.


    1. A question many people have right now! Human Rights Commissions don’t actually have the power to sue anyone. They also can’t send anyone to jail. Check out the http://www.nbdcampaign.ca infographics (the blue one answers this question in relation to the federal Human Rights Act, but the response also applies to provincial human rights codes). Thanks for asking!

      > >


  2. Hi Lee,

    Wondering how to respond to folks when they are resistant in asking all folks for their pronouns? I often hear comments such as, “if I ask, I will offend; that’s too invasive; etc.”? I work in healthcare and we are trying to model affirming lgbtq+ care, but get resistance from cis clinicians re: asking patients for their pronouns. Or the cis clinicians will find it “odd” when we introduce ourselves with our pronouns… would love to get your perspective.

    With thanks!


    1. Hello Ash, and thank you for your comment!

      I 100% understand peoples’ reluctance to ask everyone for their pronouns. Even for some transgender-spectrum people, being asked can be another message that they aren’t legible as their gender identity, whereas for others being asked is the nicest thing ever.

      That said, my view at the moment is that pronouns should become part of highly routine intake procedures for all patients, alongside other patient data questions that are asked in professional, neutral and non-judgmental ways. Pronoun questions can be asked weirdly, awkwardly and insensitively, or they can be asked in a way that makes them a non-event. After all, there are many things that clinicians have to ask patients about that are ‘odd’! Clinicians and others who work in medical settings have this skill set already, and it can be easily transferred to this domain.

      I’m also excited to share the good news that I have a book coming out (Gender – Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say and What to Do in the New Gender Culture) which contains longer answers to your questions, including with content particular to medical settings. It’s coming out in October!

      All the best,


      From: They Is My Pronoun Reply-To: Date: Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 11:20 PM To: Subject: [They Is My Pronoun] Comment: “Welcome to TIMP!”


      1. Making it all about the pronouns in a healthcare setting sounds like not caring whether a Hindi-speaking patient prefers male or female gendered verbs, whether a Spanish-speaking patient prefers the -o or -a or -x gendered suffix, etc.

        Maybe it could go on the questionnaire right along with the other language questions. For example:

        1. Which language do you prefer in speaking or signing? Fill in the blank
        1a. Which gender of that language do you prefer applied to yourself? Fill in the blank
        2. Which language do you prefer in writing? Fill in the blank
        2a. Which gender of that language do you prefer applied to yourself? Fill in the blank

        This might make it feel more routine and less worrying, more like “Yeah it’s obvious that I prefer he/him but I have to state it anyway, same way it’s obvious I speak English but I have to state it anyway” than “Can’t they tell I’m male? Do they think my being AFAB/being in an ethnic group stereotyped as more feminine/etc. rule out my being male?”


All questions and comments are welcome. You can ask an anonymous question to TIMP at theyismypronoun.tumblr.com.

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