The English language uses gender pronouns on a binary like “she” and “he” when referring to an individual. However, these pronouns may be limiting for individuals who express their gender in a non-binary way. Some people make assumptions about another person’s gender pronouns based on someone’s name or appearance. This assumption can lead to the use of wrong gender pronouns, which can have significant negative impacts on that person’s well-being. Not sure what pronouns someone uses? Just ask!
You can start things off by asking “What pronouns do you use?”
For some, this may be confusing if they aren’t familiar with gender pronoun usage. This is a great opportunity for you to share with that person why you are asking for gender pronouns.
Pronoun buttons are available in the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion, so feel free to stop by BC 111 to get one to put on your backpack or jacket!
Introduce Yourself Using Pronouns
Sharing your pronouns is a great way to encourage others to do the same. An example of this might be “Hi, I’m Clarke, I use she/her pronouns, and I am a Biology major.”
Another great place to share your pronouns is in your email signature, the college directory, or in the Student Information System (SIS)!
Adding Pronouns to SIS
For students wanting to include pronouns in SIS, log into SIS and select Personal on the left side menu. It should be the first item you see under Pronouns & Pronunciation.
If you choose to share your pronouns, they will show up for faculty and staff in several locations in SIS:
- student inquiry
- student information pop-up window
- advisee list
- class roster
Adding pronouns to the college directory
For faculty and staff wanting include your pronouns in the college directory, log into stoFaces and select Pronouns on the right side menu.
Things to keep in mind
- During introductions, don’t require someone to share their pronouns
- Avoid saying “I use female pronouns” or “I use male pronouns.” Instead, conjugate the pronouns. For example “I use they/them/their pronouns” or “I use she/her/hers pronouns.”
- Do not joke or say things like “OBVIOUSLY, I use he/him/his pronouns.”
- The pronouns people share do not tell you anything about a person’s identity. It is just how they would like to be addressed.
- Some people may choose to use multiple sets of pronouns. If someone uses more than one set of pronouns, you can ask how they would like you to use the pronouns (they may use both interchangeably, use one set on campus and another back home, etc.).
- Some people may choose not to use any pronouns and ask that people instead just use that person’s name.
- It is alright to feel uncomfortable with something new. The more you practice, the more natural it will become!
PGPs- Personal vs. Preferred
Some individuals will refer to gender pronouns as PGPs. It was common to see this acronym stand for “preferred gender pronouns.” However, pronouns are not just a preference for someone or something you get to choose whether or not to use correctly. Pronouns are very personal to an individual and often an integral part of someone’s identity. If you choose to use the acronym PGP, use personal for the first “P” to more accurately indicate the pronouns being used are important for a person and not just pronouns someone prefers.
- They/Them/Theirs (singular)
This list is not exhaustive