As a union, we have adopted a voluntary initiative off the back of a student led campaign to help non-binary and transgender colleagues and peers feel more widely accepted and supported. You may notice across the Students' Union and University emails that we are now including our pronouns as part of our email signatures. 

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are how you refer to someone when you aren’t using their name; they’re one of the ways we choose to portray our identities, and the way many of us express our gender. We all have pronouns but they are most commonly openly declared by the LGBTQ+ community and it’s vital that this changes. It can be alienating for the community, which is why we need to normalise everyone introducing them with the same importance as their name.

 

Why are they important?

It’s a normalised as part of culture to assume someone’s pronouns from the way they look. Someone who is feminine presenting is very often assumed to use the pronouns ‘she/her’, but this isn’t always the case and it’s crucial that we start to recognise this. Assuming someone’s pronouns can be harmful, even if we don’t mean it to be. Particularly for someone who isn’t cisgender (their birth assigned sex aligning with their gender) or someone who dresses in a way that isn’t conventional to their gender, it could cause gender dysphoria.

Some of the most popular pronouns that we use in the English language are 'she/her' and 'he/him 'but you can also refer to some as 'they/them' which is gender neutral. Some other pronouns include, 'xe' and 'ze'. You would use these pronouns the same way you would use 'she/he' for example, instead of "Joe is hungry. He's popping out for lunch" you would say, "Joe is hungry' They're popping out for lunch".

 

How can you step up?

We want you to challenge the idea the you can simply assume someone's pronouns by the way they look and for you to help normalise announcing your pronouns.

Here are some ways in which you can be more inclusinve in your everyday language:

  • When you introduce yourself, also introduce your pronoun: This can remind people it may not always be obvious what pronoun someone uses.
  • Join us by putting your pronouns in your email signature and/or social media profile.
  • Try to avoid addressing groups or people with gendered language, e.g., instead of using ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, use the word ‘everyone’ to address a group.
     

If you’re not sure what someone’s pronouns are, you can always ask them. However, you should be mindful of the space you are in. You don't want to force someone to out themselves to you especially if you are in a space that might not be safe for a trans or non-binary person. 

We all make mistakes, and we are only human! Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up, apologise and move on. If you want to know more or are just generally interested in educating yourself we've popped a few of our favourite resources below.

Stonewall

10 ways to step up as an ally to a non-binary person

When (and how) to ask about pronouns

LGBT Life Centre

What have we been doing as a Union?

Your LGBTQ+ Executive Officer, Claire Sessions, developed a campaign which launched alongside Pride 2022 to adopt the use of pronoun badges as much as possible. Badges are readily available on the Help Your Shelf at High Wycombe, front desk at Uxbridge, and in Basin Café at Aylesbury so that you can pick up a badge as a small but effective way to demonstrate your allyship and we encourage everyone who feel comfortable with a badge to do so. If there is another location you would like to see the pronoun badges please do email us at union@bucks.ac.uk.

During Pride month we ran a 'Make your own badge' event where yiou could make your very own pronoun and pride flag badges. The LGBTQ+ Society will be providing plenty of opportunities to make your own badges - we have all of the materials all you need to do is come along so keep an eye out for these sessions on our what's on page.