#CampaignUpdate November 2020
Personal Pronouns motion passed at Student Council, Chris Dow (Vice President) authored proposal to University Exec Team. Ruth Wilson (Director of Student Support & Engagement) to take to Leadership team meeting on November 24th 2020 where the proposal has been added as an agenda item to discuss and action.
#CampaignUpdate October 2020
Pronouns now a campaign on website. Union has all staff with Personal Pronouns in email signature. Lucy Smith (Representation and Democracy Coordinator) looking into Personal Pronoun badges and ordering soon. Looking to distribute and sell in shop possibly, working with Keren Scanlon (Retail and Central Services Coordinator). Spoke to Ruth Wilson (Director Student Support) and Malcolm Todd (Deputy Vice Chancellor) about Personal Pronouns both agree in principle and Chris is now looking to draft proposal.
#CampaignUpdate September 2020
Chris Dow (Vice President) working to push forward and develop the Unions inclusivity around Personal Pronouns from last years efforts. Working with Briony English (LGBT+ Officer) and Lucy Smith (Representation and Democracy Coordinator), they have had initial talks and meetings around going univeristy wide with Personal Pronouns. Actions taken are Chris to explore the Unions and Univeristies stance on the matter and to seek other Unions ideas and how to implement them here at Trinity. Briony to put up a Student Say and get motion to council to help action and further progress the idea.
Why they MATTER?
Often pronouns have a gender implied -- such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl. These associations are not always accurate or helpful.
Often, people make assumptions about the gender of another person based on the person’s appearance or name. These assumptions aren’t always correct, and the act of assuming (even if correct) sends a potentially harmful message -- that people have to look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.
Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. Just as it can be offensive or even harassing to make up a nickname for someone and call them that nickname against their will, it can be offensive or even harassment, to guess at someone’s pronouns and refer to them using those pronouns if that is not how that person wants to be known. Or, worse, actively choosing to ignore the pronouns someone has stated that they go by could imply the oppressive notion that intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people do not or should not exist.
HOW to use?
When a person shares their pronouns, they are declaring the pronouns that they want to be referred to by. Usually, the “they/them” pronouns set is acceptable to use when you don’t yet know if a person goes by another set or sets of pronouns.
Please note that there are also nonbinary, gender-neutral titles (e.g. "Mx." usually pronounced like "mix" instead of "Mr." or "Ms.") and nonbinary, gender-neutral language that can be used for everyone (e.g. "friends and guests" instead of "ladies and gentlemen").
How do I share my Personal Pronouns?
The majority of people go by the pronouns sets “he/him” or “she/her.” A small but increasing number of people use “they/them” pronouns Please note that many nonbinary people identify with the word “trans” (short for “transgender”), but that some do not; and many people who are trans are also men or women. All people, whether they are trans or not trans (cisgender), whether they are men or women or nonbinary -- all people can choose to go by whichever sets of pronouns they are most comfortable with.
Sharing your own pronouns is a great idea, but it isn’t necessary. Keep in mind, however, that there is a privilege of appearing in a way that fits both your gender and the pronouns that many people associate with your gender. In other words, if people’s assumptions are correct, never having to name those assumptions begins to normalize the very process of making assumptions (which for others may be incorrect). Therefore, sharing pronouns is a great way to disrupt the normalization and privilege of assumption.
If you are attending an event, you can write on your name tag the pronouns that you go by in the corner, near your name. E.g Chris (He/Him).
Asking Others Their Pronouns?
First, make sure that you have shared your own pronouns. Doing so is the best way to encourage other people to share their pronouns, to help make them more comfortable to share their pronouns with you.
If you are meeting someone new one-to-one, you might say something like: “Hi, I’m Chris, and I go by ‘He/Him’ pronouns. How should I refer to you?” Of course, if you are meeting someone who isn’t familiar with sharing personal pronouns, be prepared to explain that people often make assumptions about whether someone goes by “he” or “she” or another set of pronouns (e.g. “they” or “ze”) based on their appearance, and that the only way to really know how someone will feel respected is to ask what pronouns they go by. Usually offering up that the vast majority of people either go by “he” or by “she” helps indicate to the other person what the typical response is that they might give.
We don’t recommend ever forcing people to share their pronouns. However, people could be invited or encouraged to do so. In a group setting where you are a leader.
How can I take action?
1: You can update your email signature to help you identify your pronouns. E.g Pronouns: Her/She, He/Him, They/Them.
2: If this effects you email firstname.lastname@example.org your case studies and let me know how i can further support you!
3: Register your interest in this Campaign HERE.
4. Have you been helped by the outcome of this campaign. Share your story with us.
Some useful Videos:
How do you ask?
What Are Pronouns?
Sharing Your Pronouns?
Why Pronouns Matter?