Gender and Pronoun Tips

Purpose of this document

The ‘live and let live’ principle states that we welcome all genders at VANI. We want to clarify what we mean by ‘all genders’. Here’s an explanation, based on The Genderbread Person model. This text is ever evolving, so feedback is more than welcome.

Some terminology

Anatomical Sex

Sex (sometimes called biological, anatomical sex or physical) is about the physical body. It consists of things like genitals, chromosomes, hormones, body hair, and more.

Gender Identity

Your psychological sense of self. Who you, in your head, know yourself to be, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender. Some common gender identities are male, female, non-binary, gender queer, gender fluid, trans woman, trans man, trans feminine or trans masculine.

Gender Expression

The ways you present gender, through your actions, clothing, demeanor, and more. Your outward-facing self, and how that’s interpreted by others based on gender norms.


Who you’re typically attracted to. This could be different on a romantic and on a sexual level. It isn’t really a component of gender, but the labels we use for this often relate to gender.


Pronouns are words that we can used to refer to people, such as she, he and they. In most languages, such as English, these are based on gender, yet gender neutral alternatives are often available.


Referring to someone using a different gender identity. For example by using a different pronoun from the one they use. 


  • Don’t assume someone’s gender identity based on their anatomical sex or their gender expression.
  • Don’t assume someone’s attraction/orientation based on their gender expression.
  • If you want to have a conversation with someone about their gender, make sure they enthusiastically consent. They don’t owe you an explanation for who they are.
  • If you want to be referred to with a specific pronoun, please communicate this. For example when you introduce yourself one on one or in a circle.
  • Whenever someone misgenders you, correct them in a friendly way. However hurtful, please be aware that decades of conditioning won’t disappear in an instant, so people need time to learn this.
  • If you are being corrected on misgendering someone, please take it in a light and positive way. Ideally correct yourself and consider thanking them for helping you with this.

credit: Nibana