Gender Pronouns

What is a Pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that is used to substitute an individual’s name when they are being referred to in the third-person.

Why Are Pronouns Important?

Individuals often assume the gender of others based ony their appearance and indicate these assumptions by using gendered pronouns. This practice can be disrespectful and marginalizing to individuals who use and prefer pronouns different than the ones that are presumed. Just as taking the time to learn how to pronounce an individual’s name the correct and preferred name is a sign of respect, sharing and respecting gender pronouns is also an act of respect.

What if I Make a Mistake?

In most cases if the mistake is made in the moment and you realize it, try correcting yourself by saying, “I’m sorry, I meant to say them not him.”

If you realize the mistake later, you can try apologizing to the person privately and let them know that you will be more diligent next time.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid referring to a person as ‘it’ (unless they specifically ask you to). ‘It’ or ‘he-she’ are often considered by the transgender and gender non-conforming communities to be offensive.
  • Avoid presuming a person’s gender based on their pronouns, and presuming a person’s pronouns based on their gender. Sharing your own pronouns and being supportive of others sharing their pronouns is a proactive way to help avoid disrespectful or hurtful actions.

Adding Pronouns to Zoom

Zoom, Canvas and GMS are important shared spaces for our community to connect with, and work with, one another. Please consider adding your pronouns to these platforms to help make them more inclusive and welcoming spaces.