Life Advice



Ask Amy: Nonbinary adult faces misgendering at work

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I'm a young professional in my second year at an office job that I love. I'm also nonbinary – neither a man nor a woman – and my pronouns are the gender-neutral "they/them."

My workplace is very accepting, and my pronouns are displayed on our agency's website and on a nameplate at my desk.

Most of my coworkers are mindful of how they refer to me, and correct themselves when they make mistakes. However, there are a few people in our small office who have trouble getting it right.

I have to make choices every day between the discomfort of getting misgendered and the vulnerability of correcting others, and I accept this as part of my daily life as an openly nonbinary individual.

But at a certain point, when someone I know well and see every day doesn't even notice when they've gendered me incorrectly, it can be hurtful.

I try to continue correcting people that slip up, but it gets more difficult as it becomes clear they aren't making the effort to avoid putting me in that position in the first place.


What should I do?

– Tired of Trying

Dear Tired: When I use “they/them” pronouns in this space (referring to a nonbinary person, or to a person whose gender is simply not made clear), some readers push back with, “But ‘they/them’ is plural! An individual is singular!”

At this point (over five years after this usage became standard), this plural pushback is sounding less like a rationale and more like a refusal.


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