School and district leaders, educators, and school staff have a significant opportunity—and responsibility—to create learning environments in which all students can thrive and achieve their full educational potential.

Fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness in school are crucial for putting all students on a path to success. However, many LGBTQ students are left feeling unsupported in their schools. In order to ensure that school learning environments are supportive of all students, it is critical to implement specific policies and procedures that support LGBTQ youth, affirm their identities, promote safe and healthy learning environments, and advance equity and respect for all in our schools.

You may have noticed that people are sharing their pronouns in introductions, on name tags, and at the beginning of meetings. This gives everyone in the room the opportunity to self-identify instead of assuming someone’s identity or which pronouns they use.

Including pronouns is a first step toward respecting people’s identity and creating a more welcoming space for people of all genders.

Pronouns can sometimes be a signifier for someone’s gender identity, but not always. By providing an opportunity for people to share their pronouns, you’re showing that you’re not assuming that their gender identity is based on appearance. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun when identifying someone, please apologize or say “thank you”, and immediately use the right pronoun.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) recommends the following practices:

  • Include “pronoun” under “name,” in name tags and introductions in groups as an opportunity for participants to make their pronouns visible. 
  • Provide students with 3×5 cards and ask them to add their name, pronouns, and whatever information you feel is necessary to know about the student that they might not want to share out loud.
  • Have pronouns added to all email signatures.
  • When addressing a group of people whose pronouns are unknown, use gender-neutral language such as siblings, third graders, students, friends, or folks.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

For more information, see:

https://www.glsen.org/

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

https://www.glaad.org/resourcelist

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/lgbtq/info-and-resources-lgbtq-teens-and-allies

https://youth.gov/federal-links/lgbt-youth-resources

https://www.aclu.org/library-lgbt-youth-schools-resources-and-links