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Hir is a gender-neutral third-person, singular pronoun for objects. Hir is the gender-neutral version of the male third-person pronoun him and the female third-person pronoun her, created by combining the binary pronouns together.
Unlike him and her, hir does not make assumptions about an individual’s gender identity. For this reason, hir is commonly used by people with nonbinary genders, including transgender and gender-fluid people. It is an alternative to other gender-neutral third-person pronoun their and them.
Using hir to address and refer to people who prefer this pronoun is an important way to show your respect for them. People feel validated and supported when you use their preferred pronouns. If you are not sure whether someone wants you to use hir in reference to them, you can simply ask.
Using the pronoun hir can be challenging for people used to only using binary pronouns. However, with practice anyone can use the pronouns that non-binary people prefer. Someone becoming comfortable with the use of hir may like to think whether him or her would make sense in the sentence they are constructing. If it does, hir is being used correctly.
Hir is usually paired with the third-person singular pronoun for subjects, ze. For example, these terms may be used in a sentence such as “Ze brought hir suitcase on vacation.”
One of the major barriers to the use of hir is that it is a new word that some people outside the queer community are not familiar with. This makes it a bit different to other common gender-neutral alternative, their and them. However, some people believe their should only be used for plural identities, not singular ones. Hir does not have these preconceptions, so some people prefer it.
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