Pronoun buttons

A way to take the guesswork out of gender

A button that reads “my pronouns are he/him/his”. A button that reads “my pronouns are she/her/her”. A button that reads “my pronouns are they/them/their”. A button that reads “my pronouns are (three blanks)”.


I was going to write one, but Jordan Rose already wrote a solid post explaining his reason for wearing one of these, so I'm just going to quote him:

Pronoun buttons (or putting pronouns on name tags / badges) are a way to solve this problem. This way, no one’s guessing, and if everybody’s wearing them—not just the people who don’t fit the heuristics—then it’s normal, rather than a mark of the people who are Different. It’s the least we who do fit the heuristics can do.

Yup. Wearing your pronouns makes the correct pronouns by which to refer to you explicit, and helps normalize asking and talking about them, as opposed to assuming/guessing.

I provide here four buttons: three pre-filled with he/him/his, she/her/her, and they/them/their, and the fourth blank. The blank buttons can be written on with Sharpie or dry-erase. (Dry-erase would be one option for genderfluid people who might see fit to change their pronouns during the event/day.)

I also provide an instruction sheet that you can put next to the buttons for anyone who wants to erase anything they wrote on the buttons in Sharpie. Dry-erase markers can be used to erase Sharpie. (I know I can make a typo on anything, including paper and whiteboards, so it is quite imaginable that one could make a mistake writing their own pronouns on a button.)

What's the blank button for?

I'm running an event (conference, party, etc.). Is it OK if I get these printed and distribute them to attendees?

Please do! It will help make your event more inclusive by making accidental misgenderings (referring to someone by the wrong pronoun/gender) less likely.

I don't really care if I get credit, but feel free to direct anyone who asks for more information to this page.

I would encourage you to wear the buttons yourself at your own event, to set an example for your staff and attendees to follow.

Suggested accompaniments

I do recommend placing/taping down the instruction sheet next to the buttons, along with:

Note that the chisel-tip markers I supplied had eraser caps, and the instruction sheet I wrote makes references to them.

If you change anything about the above (e.g.: chisel-tip markers without eraser caps; no chisel-tip markers; dry-erase erasers instead of cotton rounds), please do edit the instruction sheet (there's a Pages document below) and provide your amended version.

How did this come about?

The ultimate origin of it is in the practice of putting your pronouns in your Twitter bio. I do this, and a number of people I know do as well, but I don't know who originally had the idea (it wasn't me).

My idea was initially to print up custom name badge labels for a certain event. They would have been the usual size for such labels, but divided into two rows: The first for your name, and the second for your pronouns (similarly with “he/him/his”, “she/her/her”, and “they/them/their” prefilled on some of them).

It was Samantha Marshall who came up with the suggestion to make buttons. Buttons could be reused long after the stickers had stopped sticking, particularly if not marked as belonging to a particular single event. They're also changeable, which labels wouldn't have been.

So I abandoned the label idea and had buttons made instead.

Here's what the buttons I distributed look like.

How do I actually make these?

I live in San Francisco, so I had them printed by Broken Seal Buttons, on their 2-inch diamond layout. Broken Seal have treated me well repeatedly; I recommend them.

If you're not in the Bay Area, I have no particular suggestion; I recommend searching your favorite map service for a print shop that can print these buttons for you.


A PDF of the blank button.
MD5 hash: 9063074377ef79b62da22d5466b05bd0
SHA-1 hash: d2a16fbea44b6477a3f8eb55e7be40cb74a8207e
A 600-dpi black-and-white PNG of the blank button.
MD5 hash: 6d36b97e79398ee3e9d82c89eaaf7569
SHA-1 hash: c7029729d364682adc463c017bcc7b9c2c547606
A Zip archive of PDFs of all four buttons.
MD5 hash: 5faa7f1c40f016ff335f942b7648f7ac
SHA-1 hash: ffad553b6bd315b32399d837fc20e692e19a0aab
A Zip archive of 600-dpi black-and-white PNGs of all four buttons.
MD5 hash: 3a5274175a38387a8043a2bdfedb1038
SHA-1 hash: 1d4c80153191704b7756229a724ff34f0eef0d77

A PDF of the Sharpie-erasing instruction sheet, suitable to be printed on a single US Letter page.
MD5 hash: cf71677e1bb1db0b1e3c73fd36650866
SHA-1 hash: f6b33513b524882aeabb999809715c4b9fa0053d
A PDF of the Sharpie-erasing instruction sheet, suitable to be printed on a single A4 page.
MD5 hash: 7631c8203045278d12c9f2b54ecffcfd
SHA-1 hash: 5f1531452b4d02266ec8edbcf50b38ec54a8ff81
A Zip archive of OmniGraffle documents for all four buttons. This is the source for the buttons.
MD5 hash: fe6935ee5ff39dd6ea9d109e4c79f379
SHA-1 hash: 6c2c59c28de0f873200d6abb3b0d8f497156e5f6
A Pages document of the Sharpie-erasing instruction sheet. This is the source for the instruction sheet.
MD5 hash: 6322f07aee6e4c6653e8b6d97d7aa891
SHA-1 hash: 80b77a0a31fee78c327168222040b86a4eae9c58

MD5 and SHA1 digests were created using EasyHash.

Copyright/license/public domain


These button designs are in the public domain, or the nearest legal equivalent.

I would ask only that if you sell them, you do so only to make them more readily available, and that you direct people back here in case they'd like to get them printed by their own means.

Version history

1.0 (2016-06-20)

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