What we learned from our Pronouns Survey

A photo of mix + match pronoun badges with elle, el, ella, it, its, ze, and zir pronouns

When we first launched our Mix + Match pronoun badges, we started with they, them, she, her, he, and him tiles, but it was always our plan to add more tiles. We want to help people make a pronoun badge that truly represents them. That's why we sent out a pronoun survey in Fall 2023 to our mailing list, social media followers, and network.

Mix and match double bundle, triple bundle, magnetic backs, and single tiles

 The winners—based on your feedback!—were:

Read on to learn about what we found in this survey.

Who shared their thoughts?

Our 79 responses were primarily from our email newsletter (37%) and Instagram and Facebook followers (21%). Most people who responded were in the 18-44 age range.

Two charts showing data from the 2023 Fall Pronoun Survey: on the left, what is your age? on the right, in the last year, how often did you wear your pronouns?

We knew that people who clicked the survey were interested in pronoun wear since they decided to share their time and thoughts with us. We can also see that 75% of people who filled out the survey said they wore their pronouns at least sometimes in the last year.

What pronouns did they wear?

In this section of the survey, we asked the person filling out the survey what pronouns they themselves and people they knew would wear. They could select as many pronouns as they wanted, and we offered space to write in pronouns that were not already listed.

The pronoun options came from the pronoun tiles we offered at the time (They, Them, She, Her, He, and Him), plus pronouns our customers and community had suggested over the years. Yes, we keep track of all your suggestions and bring them out when we're making product decisions! The pronouns appeared to each person in a random order to avoid bias or implying any kind of ranking.

A chart showing what pronouns survey respondents said they, or someone they knew, would wear

People filling out the survey could also write in any pronouns that did not appear on our list, and we got a lot of those: none, fauna/faunas, ae/aer, thae/thaer, e/em, ae/aem, siya, and hir. We also got several "any/all pronouns" suggestions here.

What did we learn about neopronouns?

We've had a lot of neopronoun suggestions over the years and we wanted to hear more. This was a very short survey, however, so we only scratched the surface.

In this section of the survey, we used the definition "Neopronouns are any pronouns in English other than he, she, one, they, or it." About 8% of people who took our survey said that they used neopronouns for themselves, as defined in the survey. Their ages spanned from under 18 to 65+.

As one person put it simply, "the neopronouns I use are ones that I like and like being used for me." Another person shared that "Fae/faer and other neos feel completely outside the gender binary, and they/them can feel too assimilation-y for me. It's not part of this binary system which has harmed us."

Future Plans at Small Victories

We want to add even more pronoun tiles if there is enough demand, and we'll use the suggestions from this survey as a jumping-off point. We also loved hearing your ideas about colors and finishes—neons! gold and purple!—and have a lot to think about.

This wasn't the last chance to share your feedback. Stay tuned for our next design survey, or send your comments to us any time here.

Thank you to everyone who filled out our survey! Remember to join our mailing list to hear about new releases as soon as they are available.

More Reading & Resources

If you'd like to dig deeper into pronoun research, the Trevor Project's 2020 Pronouns Usage Among LGBTQ Youth report is a great place to start. They surveyed about 40,000 LGBTQ folks from ages 18-34 and found that 25% of this group use pronouns that fall outside of binary constructions of gender, including they/them pronouns, combinations of pronouns like he/she, and neopronouns. Another interesting project is the Gender Census, which sends surveys every year to folks "whose gender doesn’t tidily fit into the female/male binary."

Do you have more big-picture questions about why and how to use people's pronouns? Our local partner Translate Gender has a great Pronoun Guide "to help you along your path to using gender affirming language for your family members, friends, and colleagues" on their Resource Page. We've also collected some useful links on our own Pronoun Resources page.

About the author:

Bee Leake is a painter, cartoonist, and zine-maker who draws inspiration from the powerful, fragile natural systems all around us. Before joining us at Small Victories, they worked for years designing, running, and analyzing surveys in the non-profit sector. In our studio, Bee is Communications Coordinator and has contributed calligraphy to some of our designs.

This article is copyright 2023 Small Victories.

All images are under copyright and may not be used without written permission from Small Victories.