Creating Gender-inclusive Educational Environments

Faculty TipSheet Creating Gender-inclusive Educational Environments

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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.

  1. Follow the university's policies and procedures regarding chosen names and gender identity.
  2. 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.
  3. When talking about gender, say "people of all genders" or "all genders."
  4. Do not assume anyone's gender.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. It is important to understand that not all men and women are cisgender (their gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth).

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