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All individuals want and need to be correctly identified. It is important that we as a community all use and model the use of correct gender and gender pronouns. Our goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment in which all can pursue their academic goals.
To help us achieve this, we ask the entire New School community to pay attention to each student's, faculty member's, or staff person's gender and pronoun use. It is important not to simply rely on one's perceptions and assumptions but to be proactive in asking a person about their gender and/or pronouns. We ask that students, faculty, and staff respect everyone's right to self-determination in our community by making every effort to use the correct pronouns.
The New School Policy on Discrimination states that “acts of discrimination including discriminatory harassment are prohibited.” The policy defines discriminatory harassment as “speech or expression that directly or deliberately insults, stigmatizes, threatens, or intimidates an individual or small group of specific individuals on the basis of … sex or gender (including gender identity and expression)... sexual orientation… or any other legally protected status or personal attributes.” The university policy aligns with New York City’s Commission on Human Rights’ (NYCCHR) nondiscrimination law as it pertains to transgender and gender non-conforming people. For more information, see the NYCCHR law.
Below is information based on materials written by Mateo Medina for Hampshire College.You can also find more information about supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students on New School alum Edmund Green Langdell’s website.
- What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that people use to refer either to themselves (such as me and you) or to someone or something (like she, it, them, and this). Gender pronouns (like ze, them, he, and she) are used specifically to refer to people.
- What is a gender pronoun?
Gender pronouns are the pronouns that people choose to use for references to themselves. For example, if Xena's preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say, "Xena ate her food because she was hungry." Some gender pronouns are neutral (them, they, theirs), some are not (she, he), and some have been created as an alternative to or rejection of the gender binary. Everyone has the right to use the gender pronouns that match their personal identity. These pronouns may or may not match their gender expression (how the person dresses, behaves, or looks).
- What are some commonly used gender pronouns?
She, her, and hers and he, him, and his are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these "female" or "feminine" and "male" or "masculine" pronouns, but many avoid these labels because not everyone who uses she, her, and hers identifies as a female person and not everyone who uses he, him, and his identifies as a male person. There are also several gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:(Video) Why Gender Pronouns Matter
- They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry). These are fairly common gender-neutral pronouns. And yes, they can be used to refer to a single person.
- Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry). Ze, pronounced "zee," can also be spelled zie or xe and replaces she, he, and they. Hir, pronounced "here," replaces her, him, his, them, and their.
- Just my name, please! (Xena ate Xena's food because Xena was hungry). Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, substituting their names for pronouns instead.
Never, ever refer to a person as "it" or "he-she" (unless they specifically ask you to). Both terms are offensive slurs used against trans and gender nonconforming individuals.
- Why is it important to respect people's gender pronouns?
You can't always know what someone's gender pronouns are by looking at them. Asking about and correctly using someone's gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity. When someone is referred to with the wrong pronouns, they may feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all of the above). It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronouns someone is going to use for you on the basis of how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege yet fail to respect someone else's gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful but also oppressive.
- Why is it important for staff and faculty members to use students' correct gender pronouns?
Staff and faculty members are often in a position of power. Asking students what their pronouns are and consistently using them correctly can determine within the first few minutes if they will feel respected or not.
- How will faculty members know which gender pronouns to use for students in the classroom?
Students may request that their faculty be notified each semester of their correct gender pronouns. Contact the Office of Intercultural Support at 212.229.8996 or [emailprotected] for more information and to make an official request. The Office of Intercultural Support will notify a student's instructors each semester of the first name they go by and the correct gender pronouns to be used in the classroom setting.
- What are best practices for faculty members with respect to gender pronouns in the classroom?
Some students would be thrilled if their faculty would ask students to go around the room and share their name and gender pronouns; some students might cringe at this practice or, worse, feel exposed and unsafe. Some students will register their gender pronouns officially for the faculty member to be informed ahead of time. How do we respect these different expectations and experiences?
- Some faculty members opt to pass out index cards asking for students' name, contact information, and gender pronouns.
- Some faculty may use a statement like the following on their syllabus: "My name is [faculty name]. My gender pronouns are [gender pronouns]. Respect for identity is important to me and to The New School. Let me know your name and pronouns if you think that is important for our conversation."
- Some faculty members skip using gender pronouns until they know students' gender pronouns. These faculty members may use students' name or gender-neutral pronouns.
By using students' correct gender pronouns, faculty will be setting an example for students and staff: If they are consistent about using someone's pronouns, others will follow their example. Many students will be learning about gender pronouns for the first time, so this will be an important learning opportunity for them. Discussing and correctly using gender pronouns sets a tone of respect and allyship that trans and gender nonconforming students, faculty, and staff do not take for granted. It can truly make all of the difference, especially for incoming first-year students, who may feel particularly vulnerable, alone, and scared.
- How should I ask someone what their gender pronouns are?
Try asking, "What are your preferred pronouns?" or "Which pronouns do you like to hear?" or "Can you remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?" Doing this may feel awkward at first, but it is not half as awkward as getting it wrong or making a hurtful assumption. If you are asking as part of an introduction exercise and you want to quickly explain what a gender pronoun is, you can try saying something like this: "Tell us your name, where you come from, and your gender pronouns, if you feel comfortable doing so. Gender pronouns are the pronouns you like to be referred to with. For example, 'I'm Xena, I'm from Amazon Island, and I like to be referred to with she, her, and hers.' So you could say, 'She went to her car,' if you were talking about me."
- What if I make a mistake?
It's okay! Everyone slips up from time to time. The best thing to do if you use the wrong pronoun for someone is to say something right away like "Sorry, I meant she." If you recognize your mistake after the fact, apologize in private and move on. It can be tempting to go on and on about how bad you feel that you messed up or how hard it is for you to get it right, but please don't! It is inappropriate and may make the person who was misgendered feel awkward and responsible for comforting you, which is absolutely not their job. It is your job to remember people's gender pronouns.
- What should I do if I hear someone being misgendered?
On campus, you may hear a student, faculty member, or staff member using the wrong pronoun for someone. In most cases, it is appropriate to gently correct them without further embarrassing the individual who has been misgendered. This means saying something like "Actually, Xena prefers the pronoun she," and then moving on. If other students or faculty are consistently using the wrong pronouns for someone, do not ignore it! It is important for everyone to know that you are their ally.
It may be appropriate to approach the person who has been misgendered and say something like "I noticed that you were getting referred to with the wrong pronoun earlier, and I know that that can be really hurtful. Would you be okay with me taking them aside and reminding them about your preferred pronouns? I want to make sure that this group is a safe space for you." Follow up if necessary, but take your cues from the person. Your actions will be greatly appreciated.
- What is a pronoun?
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What is gender identity and pronouns? ›
Gender identity is each person's internal and individual sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. Personal names and pronouns are two fundamental ways we express gender and how others perceive our gender.How do you answer the question what are your pronouns? ›
While refusing to answer is certainly effective, an even better response might be: “My pronouns are grammatically and biologically correct.” Alternatively, for us older folks, there's always: “My pronouns are what they've been for the past 7+ decades.”What gender am I if I want to use all pronouns? ›
Pronouns commonly have a gendered association, however, anyone of any gender can use any pronouns that fit for them. Everyone has pronouns, not just transgender, nonbinary, or intersex people. Keep in mind that some people may use more than one set of pronouns to refer to themselves (e.g., 'she/her' and 'they/them').Can I refuse to use gender pronouns? ›
Intentional refusal to use someone's correct pronouns is equivalent to harassment and a violation of one's civil rights. The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 expressly prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.What are the 4 gender pronouns? ›
Pronouns can be in the first person singular (I, me) or plural (we, us); second person singular or plural (you); and the third person singular (e.g., she/her, he/him, they/them, ze/hir) or plural (they/them). Gendered pronouns specifically reference someone's gender: he/him/his or she/her/hers.What are pronouns examples? ›
Some examples of pronouns are I, he, him, you, we, him, her, yours, theirs, someone, where, when, yourselves, themselves, oneself, is, hers, when, whom, whose, each other, one another, everyone, nobody, none, each, anywhere, anyone, nothing, etc.What are my pronouns if I'm a girl? ›
She, her, hers and he, him, his are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these "female/feminine" and "male/masculine" pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a "male" or "masculine." There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use.What does it mean when someone says my pronouns are? ›
So when a person includes their gender pronouns on their email signature line (or on a nametag, when introducing themselves, etc.), they are simply taking the guesswork away for you! It's their way of saying “when you refer to me using pronouns (opposed to by my name), these are the pronouns I'd like for you to use.”How do you identify yourself using pronouns? ›
Introduce yourself using pronouns!
It's really easy to incorporate pronouns into your introductions. For example, you could say, “Hey, I'm Schiller and I'm from Germany, I'm a senior English and Philosophy double major and I use he/him pronouns.”
The short answer is yes. There is nothing to prevent your employer asking employees to make voluntary pronoun declarations. However, speech rights are likely to be engaged when there is an element of compulsion.
What pronoun is gender neutral? ›
Gendered pronouns are those that indicate gender: he, she, him, her, hers, his, himself and herself. All others, like "it, "one," and "they," are gender-neutral. You probably already use some gender-neutral pronouns: they, their, and them.What pronouns do people go by? ›
Common pronouns include she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs. There are other nonbinary pronouns. It is important to ask people what their pronouns are. If you have questions, politely ask the person if they feel comfortable giving examples of how to use those pronouns.Can my employer force me to use gender pronouns? ›
What Can Employers Do About Employees Who Refuse To Refer To Transgendered Employees By Their Preferred Names Or Pronouns? The short answer is, private sector employers can very likely terminate the employee.Why did pronouns become a thing? ›
Somebody coined pronouns because they felt a word was missing from English,” he said. “A few of the words made it into dictionaries. None of them ever achieved widespread use. “One word that seems to be filling the gap is the singular 'they,'” he said.Why is everyone using pronouns? ›
You may have noticed that many people are sharing their pronouns in conversations, introductions, bios, and email signatures. The reason this is happening is to make spaces more inclusive to transgender (trans), gender noncomforming, and non-binary people.Why do gender pronouns matter? ›
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.What are the 7 pronouns? ›
There are seven types of pronouns that both English and English as a second language writers must recognize: the personal pronoun, the demonstrative pronoun, the interrogative pronoun, the relative pronoun, the indefinite pronoun, the reflexive pronoun, and the intensive pronoun.How to define gender? ›
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender diverse people. It influences how people perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact, and the distribution of power and resources in society.What is a pronoun for a girl? ›
She, her, hers and he, him, his are common and more familiar pronouns. Some people call these “female/feminine” and “male/masculine” pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a “male” or “masculine”.What are the rules for pronouns? ›
RULE: Pronouns have three cases: nominative (I, you, he, she, it, they), possessive (my, your, his, her, their), and objective (me, him, her, him, us, them). Use the nominative case when the pronoun is the subject of your sentence, and remember the rule of manners: always put the other person's name first!
What are 10 common pronouns? ›
Common pronouns are he, she, you, me, I, we, us, this, them, that. A pronoun can act as a subject, direct object, indirect object, object of the preposition, and more and takes the place of any person, place, animal or thing.When did pronouns become a thing? ›
But she says it was from the 18th century onwards that people started using male pronouns when describing someone of a non-specific gender in writing and this marks the time when opinions on what pronouns should be used started to change.Is someone's name a pronoun? ›
No, a name is not a pronoun. A name is a noun, and specifically, it is a proper noun. Proper nouns are capitalized, whereas common nouns are not. A pronoun would be a word used to take the place of a name, or of another noun.What pronoun is we? ›
language note: We is the first person plural pronoun. We is used as the subject of a verb. 1. pronoun. A speaker or writer uses we to refer both to himself or herself and to one or more other people as a group.Do I have to use pronouns? ›
Are they even necessary? The short answer is, yes. The correct use of pronouns is a powerful way to foster a sense of belonging both in and outside of work. Learn the history of gender-neutral pronouns, why they're so important, and how to be mindful in your everyday language.Can an employer require pronouns in email signature? ›
That said, an employer can prohibit workers from including their pronouns in their email signatures, but only if the policy is enforced consistently across the company. "The company can say company policy is that emails do not have identifier attached to them.What do you call someone if their pronouns are she They? ›
Someone who uses she/they pronouns may identify as both being a woman and nonbinary. Or, they could be genderfluid, genderqueer, bigender, or another identity. (For more, check out A Guide to Genderqueer, Non-Binary, and Genderfluid Identity from Psychology Today.)What's your gender identity? ›
Gender identity is your deeply-held inner feelings of whether you're female or male, both, or neither. Your gender identity isn't seen by others. Gender identity may be the same as the sex you were assigned at birth (cisgender) or not (transgender). Some people identify as a man (or a boy) or a woman (or a girl).When did gender pronouns become a thing? ›
But she says it was from the 18th century onwards that people started using male pronouns when describing someone of a non-specific gender in writing and this marks the time when opinions on what pronouns should be used started to change.