Co-authored by Kat Frolov (she/her), Shaun Bell (they/them) and Soli Le-Masurier (he/him)

How do you feel when someone gets your name wrong? What about when someone gets your gender pronouns wrong? It’s not a great feeling, particularly for people who identify as trans, non-binary or gender neutral.

For many people, when their gender expression (the way you outwardly express yourself) falls closely within the traditional binary of masculine and feminine, most people assume their pronouns are ‘he/him’ or ‘she/her’. Other people may express their gender in ways that challenge the gender binary. In both of these instances we cannot assume someone’s gender identity or pronouns based on their name, how they dress or what their voice sounds like. So we need to ask. 

This article details some practical tips that can help the UTS community be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. It’s important that we model inclusive practices as they are a way of providing students and staff the space to comfortably identify and introduce themselves. By modelling this practice, we normalise it for all. This can have an immense benefit for students who are affirming or exploring their identity. 

What gender is a chair? If you know, you either grew up speaking or have learned to speak or understand a gendered language. What then if your native language does not assign a gender to every day objects? You would still know how a person wants to identify by a particular gender or an associated noun they describe themselves as.

We all have a pronoun of some sort, be it she/he/they or a genderless term such as “hän” in Finnish. Just like anyone would like others to get their name right, using a correct pronoun is just as important, a mark of respect for identity. And don’t worry if you are not sure. Just like you would ask anyone with a name you may not have heard before how to get it right, you can ask the preferred pronouns of people you meet.

Niina Matthews (she/they), FEIT

6 ways to share your pronouns

1. Verbally

After introducing your name, add “My pronouns are …” and say your pronouns.

2. In your email signature

Update your email signature in Microsoft Outlook or in the email program that you use.

It was when I was filling out my pronouns (she/her) for my email signature that I realised that I had no say in what they were – they were just given to me from birth. It made me reflect on how alienating it must be for people who don’t identify with the pronouns they were given.

Leanne Budd (she/her), Human Technology Institute

I share my pronouns (he/him) in my email signature and am always open to people sharing theirs over email or verbally in meetings or on Teams. Additionally, if I’m corrected when I’ve unknowingly misgendered someone, I take it in my stride and apologise, then endeavour to use the correct pronouns moving forward.

Adrik De Villa (he/him), Marketing and Communications Unit

3. In Microsoft Teams

Add your pronouns to your profile card in Microsoft Teams so people can click on the profile card and learn your pronouns.

4. In Zoom

Customise your Zoom profile so that your pronouns appear next to your name.

 In Zoom, I find it really helpful when people add their pronouns to their names. I’ve made mistakes in the past, assuming gender based on people’s names or how they looked so a little ‘they/them, she/her, he/him’ helps me and everyone else get it right. I do appreciate it when people point out if I’ve misgendered someone. I just apologise and thank the person for correcting me, then make a conscious effort not to get it wrong again.

Nick Hopwood (he/him), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Sometimes, in large meetings, there isn’t time for an individual introduction of everyone. I like that my displayed name includes my pronouns so that people can correctly use my preferred pronouns from the start.

Soli Le-Masurier (he/him), Learning Design & Technology Unit

5. In Canvas

Use the pronoun feature in Canvas so that your pronouns appear next to your name in a variety of locations throughout Canvas. Read a student’s perspective on why pronouns are important in this article that was published when Canvas released their pronoun feature in 2021.

6. Add your pronoun to your UTS Discovery profile

If you’re a researcher at UTS whether you are an academic or a higher degree researcher, add your pronouns to your UTS Discovery profile.

How can you help?

Take a moment to update your pronouns in your email signature and on MS Teams, Zoom and Canvas. And when you next meet someone for the first time, virtually or digitally, take a moment to find out their preferred pronouns.

Additionally, check out this useful guidance from the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion on how we can support each other, particularly members of the LGBTIQA+ community, when learning and working together.

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