Welcome, college freshmen: here’s a pronoun pin
By Evan Lips | August 30, 2016, 17:03 EST
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Colorful pins used to inform a new acquaintance of one’s gender identity, similar to ones distributed at July’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, are now popping up on college campuses.
At Champlain College in Vermont, such “pronoun pins” are making an appearance this week as part of freshman orientation proceedings for the Class of 2020, according to a recent Burlington Free Press report.
“Certainly there’s resistance or folks who maybe it just doesn’t jive with their beliefs or their own thinking, but we’re in an educational atmosphere, so this is the place where people are supposed to confront their values and beliefs and understand them or push on them,” Danielle Berube, the college’s director of residential life, told the newspaper. “This is the place where we should be doing this.”
At the DNC in Philadelphia, Planned Parenthood distributed a collection of pronoun pins to attendees:
— PP Black Community (@PPBlackComm) July 25, 2016
Teen Vogue magazine, an offshoot of Vogue marketed to teenage girls, described the pins as “a genius way to make sure everyone is comfortable and feels respected in the fast-paced conversations that go on at these conventions, because no matter how quick your exchange needs to be, it’s always crucial to use correct pronouns.”
“Planned Parenthood’s commitment to protecting your gender identity, in this case by giving a quick, easy way to express it, is just one of the many, many reasons why we love Planned Parenthood,” the magazine gushed.
Meanwhile, at Champlain College, incoming freshmen chose pins featuring pronoun greetings ranging from “she/her,” “he/him,” “they/them” and “xe/xem” — the designation for gender-neutral pronouns.
Another pin reads, “Hello, my pronouns are fluid. Please ask me!”
— Champlain College (@ChamplainEdu) August 30, 2016
It’s not uncommon for colleges and universities to encourage a politically-correct usage of pronouns. Schools in New England like Middlebury College and Hampshire College feature the usage in official school policy.
CampusPride.org, a popular website tailored for LGBTQ students, produced last spring a “queer-it-yourself” pronoun button-making tutorial.
Pronouns matter! They aren’t ‘preferred’ – It’s ME! Create pronoun buttons on campus & update roster policies https://t.co/LjJBWO2p9H
— Campus Pride (@campuspride) April 13, 2016
“Welcome to Queer It Yourself, a series on using arts-and-crafts to make your spaces more safe, fun and QUEER!” the website posted in its introduction. “Want a fun craft you can do to create more inclusive spaces on your campus?
“Today, Campus Pride teaches you how to create pronoun buttons, an easy addition to any club meeting, conference or event that can make your attendees more comfortable, and teach people the importance of learning and respecting pronouns!”
The number of private and public colleges and universities distributing the pins appears to be growing. A search on social media shows that the gender pronoun pins are not confined to New England-based institutions.
Iowa State University:
— ISU LGBTSS (@isulgbtss) August 19, 2016
University of Minnesota-Morris:
— Mx. Conley (@MinnesotaPearl) August 20, 2016
Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Fla.:
— Melanie Stawkey (@melaniestawkey) August 17, 2016