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Don’t assume; ask

Using preferred pronouns is a respectful practice.

Article Author: Juice Staff

Article Date:

gender pronouns illustration pride month

“He,” “she,” “his” and “her” are all common pronouns we use on a daily basis when referring to someone’s gender. Typically, pronouns are used without even thinking. However, you should never assume; when we use an individual’s correct or preferred pronoun, we are respecting that person’s identity.

“Acknowledging an individual with the correct name and pronouns exemplifies our Baptist Health core value of respect,” said Amanda Brown, PhD, RN, director of Professional Practice at Baptist Health. Dr. Brown is also the chair for Baptist Health’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) work. “We are actively working toward asking patients their gender identity, preferred name, and pronouns during our first interaction when we are collecting other demographic information. You shouldn’t make any assumptions about a person’s gender identity and pronouns. It’s our responsibility as a health care system to know the patient, as well as keep them safe. We want to be a safe space for all patients.”

pronouns chart

Pronunciations of the bottom two rows are as follows:

  • Zee, Zeer, Zeers, Zeerself
  • See, Heer, Heers, Heerself

Dr. Brown said, “Most of us are used to assigning pronouns to others based on their appearance or the pitch of their voice. If you make a mistake with someone’s gender identity or pronouns, acknowledge the mistake, apologize and move forward.” Terms such as “it” or “he-she” are offensive to transgender and gender non-conforming people and should never be used. Some people elect to use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/their. The use of various gender-neutral pronouns dates back centuries. The present-day use continues to evolve as awareness and acceptance of the transgender community becomes more widespread.

Here are some questions you can ask someone to help identify their pronouns:

  • "My name is Rachel and my pronouns are she and her. What about you?"
  • "Which pronouns do you use?"
  • "How would you like me to refer to you?"
  • "How would you like to be addressed?"
  • "Can you please remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?"

“Baptist Health is always looking for ways to improve the care we provide to our patients. We have an internal task force dedicated to addressing collection of sexual orientation and gender identity in the patients’ medical records,” explained Dr. Brown. “LGBT+ patients continue to face significant challenges in health care, and we’re dedicated to continuous improvement in health care equity for our patients.”

At Baptist Health, we are committed to LGBT+ inclusive health care for all patients. All Baptist Health hospitals, including Wolfson Children’s Hospital, received the “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” status in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a national benchmarking tool that evaluates our policies related to equity and inclusion of LGBT+ patients, visitors and team members. To learn more, visit the LGBT+ Care and Resources page.

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