College is a time of self-discovery for many students. When this self-awareness centers around gender identity, it can mean changes in the names and/or pronouns students use. To help create a safer and more inclusive classroom experience for our transgender and non-binary students, please consider adopting some of the following best practices in your classes.
- Include gender pronouns in your introduction, syllabus and email signature. This 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. Pronouns are the parts of speech we use to refer to someone instead of their name. Using the right pronoun, like using someone’s correct name, is a way to show respect.”)
- Allow students to self-identify their name and pronouns. If their name is different than what appears on the roster, privately let the student know about resources to change their “name in use” if desired, through the LGBTQA Resource Center (328 Curry Student Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617.373.2738).
- Honor the name and pronouns a student uses in all settings, even when the student isn’t present.
- Politely correct those who mis-gender students (whether the student is present or not), including yourself.
- Familiarize yourself with gender neutral pronouns, such as the singular they (which can be both a personal pronoun, and a safe option when someone’s pronoun is unknown).
- Do not disclose a student’s gender identity unless you have obtained their consent.
- Do not ask personal questions of trans and gender non-conforming people that you would not ask of others.
|If you are interested in including language on your syllabus, here is a suggestion:
“We have an opportunity in this class to hear from people with different viewpoints and open some lines of communication about difficult or emotional topics. All opinions are welcome, as long as they are grounded in the evidence and presented respectfully. I reserve the right to manage, intercede, side-line, or stop a conversation if it is leading us too far off track or if it is disrespectful to others.
My name is Dr. Smith and I use the pronouns she, her and hers. Pronouns are the parts of speech we use to refer to someone instead of their name. Using the right pronoun, like using someone’s correct name or title, is a way to show respect.”