Pronoun Guidance for Faculty

Pronouns affirm gender identities and create safe spaces by referring to people in the way that feels most accurate to them.

Not everyone is comfortable sharing their pronouns, including transgender, nonbinary, or questioning folks who might not be out yet. Others might object to sharing for any number of personal reasons. Respect those who offer to share their pronouns and those who do not. No one should be forced to comply, as long as they simply skip the practice and do not mock or belittle it.

According to the National Education Association’s (NEA) guide to pronouns, social interactions where a person is addressed by the name and pronouns that are consistent with their gender identity are critical to the health and well-being of transgender and gender-diverse people.

Addressing someone by the wrong name or misgendering them, by using incorrect pronouns, can feel disrespectful, harmful, and even threatening to a gender-diverse person. Misgendering results in marginalization and communicates that a person’s identity is not seen as important.

When correct names and pronouns are used, statistics show that suicide rates drop, while trust and feelings of belonging increase. “It’s also a sign of respect,” said Saul Ramos, in June, during an NEA-hosted webinar on pronouns. Ramos is a paraprofessional in Massachusetts and a member of NEA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee.

Including gender pronouns in your introduction, syllabus and email signature not only helps students know how to refer to you, it also sets an inclusive tone that makes it safer for students to share their pronouns. (Ex: “I'm Dr. Smith and I use the pronouns she, her and hers. Using the right pronoun, like using someone’s correct name, is a way to show respect.”)     

For more information, click the link to visit the National Education Association.