Sometimes it’s the littlest gestures that mean the most.
I’m proud to work at one of the most LGBT-friendly colleges in the country. Because of this, colleagues frequently ask what we do to be so inclusive. It’s the little things.
Today, during an Orientation workshop, I was reminded of one of the little things we do so well. In meeting students at Orientation, we use the following dialogue:
“Hi, my name is Jason. I’m one of the Orientation advisors and I use he, him, his gender pronouns.”
We don’t do it once. We do it all of the time.
We don’t do it with just new students. We do it with all students.
This isn’t an introduction but a continued dialogue.
Let your students share their chosen name and prefered gender pronouns. Don’t make it a big deal. Just make it a normalized behavior.
Sure, it might feel funny to you to say something that might be obvious if you’re a cis-gendered individual… but for those who identify as trans, gender queer or non-gender normative, it gives them an opportunity to proclaim who they are in a safe and non-threatening way.
Besides, knowing someone’s prefered gender pronoun is far more helpful to know than what their favorite ice cream is or their favorite Disney movie or their spirit animal.