Using Pronouns

Tips for Faculty

  • Be patient with students exploring gender identity – they may change preferred names & pronouns more than once.
  • Maintain confidentiality & do not “out” students.
  • Understand that “coming out” for Trans* people is a different experience than “coming out” as LGBQ.
  • Use the syllabus to set standards & create a respectful climate.
    • e.g. This class will be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I encourage your active participation and welcome both respectful discourse and reasoned debate. However, if your language or conduct at any time demonstrates a lack of respect for anyone’s race, gender identity or expression, sexuality, culture, beliefs, or abilities, you will not be permitted to participate further.
  • Model Trans* inclusion
    • Share your own preferred name and/or gender pronouns
      When introducing yourself to the class, state if you would like to use a preferred name other than what is on the class schedule, and/or your preferred gender pronouns.
      (e.g. Please address me as Professor _________. My pronouns are "she" and "her.")
    • Ask students to share their preferred names and pronouns during initial introductions and respect them
    • Determine how you will address the use of gender neutral pronouns in written work
      (e.g. “they/them” or “ze/hir”).

What Not to Do

  • Not asking or refusing to use preferred names
  • Not asking or refusing to use preferred pronouns
  • Overhearing comments such as “What is it?” or “Trannie”
  • Asking Trans* students about:
    • Their “real” name
    • Their genitalia or how they have sex
    • Their hormones or surgery status
  • Refusing to allow the use of “they” or “ze” as a gender neutral singular pronoun in academic work without addressing reasons why.

 

Pronouns: A How to Guide

 

Subject: ___1___ laughed at the notion of a gender binary.
Object: They tried to convince ___2___ that asexuality does not exist.
Possessive: ___3___ favorite color is unknown.
Possessive Pronoun: The pronoun card is ___4___.
Reflexive: ___1___ thinks highly of ___5___.

 

1 2 3 4 5
e/ey em eir eirs eirself
he him his his himself
[name] [name] [name]'s [name]'s [name]'s self
per per pers pers perself
she her her hers herself
sie sir hir hirs hirself
they them their theirs themself
ve ver vis vers verself
zie zim zir zirs zirself

 

Tips for Faculty and What Not to Do adapted from Trans Issues in the Classroom Presentation by Nancy Jean Tubbs from University of California, Riverside
Pronouns: A How to Guide, Created by the UW-Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center