The IDHR Student Advisory Committee, with the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office and LBGTQ+ Services (at lbgtq.mit.edu and trans.mit.edu), have produced pronoun materials for virtual and in-person events. The goal of these materials is to provide the MIT community with a way to make their events, programs, and virtual meetings more inclusive.
The sharing of pronouns should always be offered as an optional choice and never be required.
The Zoom Virtual Backgrounds:
The Zoom background version of pronouns can be used for meetings, events, and virtual social spaces to help everyone feel welcome and included.
You can download a zip file that includes numerous backgrounds for each pronoun series or download the blank version to type in your own pronouns.
If these standard backgrounds don’t feel like they represent you, we’ve also created a template on Canva for you to customize as you see fit!
- Instructions for how to change your Zoom Background.
- Best Practices Guide: A document that was created to help folks understand the purpose of these pronoun backgrounds.
The goal of increasing visibility of pronouns in virtual spaces is to normalize the use of a person’s pronouns correctly instead of based on our assumptions about a person’s gender identity.
The In-Person Stickers:
The sticker version of pronouns can be used alone or in tandem with name-tags to help everyone feel welcome at your events.
The best way to obtain these is by printing them yourself! You can purchase this label sheet: Avery Label 6450 from Staples, Avery.com, or a store of your choice and then print using the template below.
- Here are the locations to color printers on campus.
Template for Stickers: Open this on Google Chrome or in Acrobat Reader and print. Please make sure that the pdf is not scaled so that it perfectly aligns with the labels!
In addition to the template for stickers, we have produced two guiding documents to serve as a resource for you and your guests.
- Best Practices Guide: A document that was created to be placed near the actual stickers so that your guests/attendees know the purpose of the stickers and that they are optional. It is a great resource to share so people can better understand how to use pronoun stickers!
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why Are Pronouns Important?
- Not everyone identifies as cisgender, where one’s gender identity corresponds to the sex assigned at birth. Some people use pronouns other than she/her/hers and he/him/his because those pronouns do not adequately or accurately reflect their identity. Misgendering is when a person guesses/assumes/deliberately uses the wrong pronouns to refer to someone else. While misgendering can be hurtful, using someone’s correct pronouns is an act of affirmation. To make everyone feel comfortable and welcome at MIT, the best practice is to refer to people using their pronouns if they've shared them.
- What are Pronouns?
- A pronoun is a word to use in place of someone’s name. “Rafia goes to the store; they buy oranges” and “Amar studies; ze learns math” are both examples of how pronouns are used.
- How did this initiative come to be?
- The Title IX Student Advisory Committee of 2018-2019 (now referred to as IDHR-SAC) made pronoun stickers one of their very first projects to tackle. Identifying it as a simple yet impactful way to create more awareness of pronouns and more inclusive, a subgroup of committee members worked with IDHR, SOLE, and LBGTQ+ Services, to make the initial stickers and guidance. The IDHR-SAC of 2019-2020 made updates to these materials to incorporate the need to find creative ways to share pronouns now that most events are virtual.