Why Pronouns Matter

We understand that faculty, staff, students and all members of our UNC Greensboro Campus Community want to provide a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment for one another. In regards to being more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ Community, we can do this by being more mindful about how we use pronouns.

Helpful Resource: Why Pronouns Matter For Trans People

Pronouns are words that a person may use to identify themselves instead of their chosen name. For example, she/her/hers and he/him/his are typically feminine and masculine pronouns, respectively. However, some feel more comfortable with gender-neutral pronouns. The most common gender-neutral pronouns are they/them/theirs, used in the singular to refer to an individual in a way that isn’t gendered.

Helpful Resource: Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Singular ‘They’

Common “style guides” for academic writing are moving in the direction of clarifying the usage of “they” in the singular, but some still leave the topic as murky and unaddressed.

Helpful Resource: Academic Style Guides on the Singular Pronoun ‘They’ (Indiana University Bloomington, Gender Studies)

In the past, it has been common for people to use “he/she” and “his or hers” when writing or speaking to recognize that they might be unsure of an individual’s gender. This can be problematic, as it reinforces the gender binary, erasing the narratives of those identifying outside of the confines of male, female, man, and woman.

Helpful Resource: Glossary of LGBTQ+ Terms (University of California at Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center)

Introducing yourself with your pronouns is a great way to challenge the norm that these should be assumed, while creating space for those that might identify as transgender, queer, and/or non-binary to share also. This can be done digitally by adding pronouns to your faculty/staff listing online and including pronouns in your email signature (hopefully with a link to this page to provide more in-depth information). In-person or over the phone, this can be done simply by creating space to share your pronouns when introducing yourself to others. For example, “Hello there, my name is Taylor and I use they/them/theirs pronouns”. While they/them/theirs is the most popular gender-neutral pronoun, there are several others referenced in the graphic linked below.

Helpful Resource: Gender Pronouns (Trans Student Educational Resources)

For more helpful resources, visit our LGBTQ+ and Transgender Student Resource pages.