Using chosen names and pronouns is an important way to demonstrate awareness and acceptance of all students, particularly transgender and gender diverse students. Creating a gender-inclusive educational environment is important for creating a campus culture where "every person and every interaction matters" at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This generation of students, known as "Generation Z," has grown up in a more inclusive world than any other generation.
As a leader in classrooms and labs, faculty have the responsibility and the opportunity to use these tips to create a more inclusive environment.
- Follow the university's policies and procedures regarding chosen names and gender identity.
- Ask students to fill out a document at the beginning of the semester that queries them about their chosen name, pronunciation (if helpful), and pronouns.
- When talking about gender, say "people of all genders" or "all genders."
- Do not assume anyone's gender.
- Be mindful of your language and lead discussions using gender neutral and inclusive language. For example, use a person's chosen name or "you said" or “they said” instead of gendered pronouns (“he” or “she”) when you may not know how someone identifies or what pronouns to use for them.
- Check your own beliefs and biases. Understand that there are many people who do not identify as “men” or “women.” In order to create a gender-inclusive classroom or lab, words and actions matter.
- It is important to understand that not all men and women are cisgender (their gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth).