International Pronouns Day shines light on important subject

October 20, 2021

Image with different colorful pronouns

An individual’s pronouns are much more than an alternative to their name, they are a key part of a person’s identify, one professor said.

“Pronouns act as a metaphor for identity. We tend to think of pronouns as convenient alternatives to someone’s name. But pronouns are not alternatives. They are names,” said JT Torres (he/his), director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and assistant teaching professor of English. “Clarifying this, I hope, can move us away from the confusion many seem to express regarding what pronoun to call someone. We don’t make up people’s names, right? We don’t just guess. We ask someone what their name is. If we think of pronouns as names, then it is a natural conclusion to also ask someone what their preferred pronoun is.”

To raise greater awareness, several individuals established International Pronouns Day on the third Wednesday of October — this year falling on October 20.

Quinnipiac’s QU Culture sponsored Pronouns Awareness Day earlier this year, an initiative of Katie Kelly ’20 MS ’21 (she/they), as part of a graduate project.

“I wanted to make sure that everyone was kind of having more of an inclusive space and environment at Quinnipiac,” she said. “A lot of people I feel like don’t have a lot of knowledge about pronoun usage and the difference of gender identity versus gender presentation.”

Instagram, a favorite social media network among college students, recently added a new feature that allows individuals to add their pronouns above their account bio.

“It’s not just an LGBTQ+ initiative,” Kelly said. “Everyone has pronouns, even if you just utilize cisgender pronouns, such as she/her or he/him.”

This year, Quinnipiac’s Department of Cultural and Global Engagement is celebrating International Pronouns Day by inviting students to participate in a social media campaign

Students are encouraged to post a photo or video to their Instagram account, introducing themselves with their name and pronouns. Members of the university community are also encouraged to stop by the Carl Hansen Student Center on Wednesday, October 20 from noon to 3 p.m. to learn more about the importance of pronouns, and to share why they are important to them.

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