US university introduces gender pronoun badges

University of Kansas libraries create badges to help staff and students feel more welcome

January 4, 2017
Gender neutral
Source: iStock

A US university has created gender pronoun badges for staff and students as part of a marketing campaign aimed at making the institution more welcoming.

The University of Kansas library system created three badges – reading “he, him, his”, “she, her, hers” and “they, them, theirs” – for interested staff and students as part of an inclusivity campaign called “You Belong Here”. Each badge includes the statement “We Belong Here”.

According to local newspaper Lawrence Journal-World, a sign at the university’s libraries states: “Because gender is, itself, fluid and up to the individual, each person has the right to identify their own pronouns, and we encourage you to ask before assuming someone’s gender. Pronouns matter! Misgendering someone can have lasting consequences, and using the incorrect pronoun can be hurtful, disrespectful, and invalidate someone’s identity.”

Last year, the University of Toronto issued a warning about speech or acts that “silence or demean individuals or groups” after one of its professors criticised a Canadian government bill proposing to outlaw harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at Toronto, who made two hour-long YouTube lectures objecting to the legislation and criticising the university’s policy on “political correctness”, said: “I don’t recognise another person’s right to determine what pronouns I use to address them. I won’t do it.”

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

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