Libraries at the University of Kansas are now offering buttons to staff and students in order to let people know what their preferred gender pronouns are. According to signs posted in the library, the buttons are needed because gender is “fluid and up to the individual” and because “pronouns matter”:
“Because gender is, itself, fluid and up to the individual, each person has the right to identify their own pronouns, and we encourage you to ask before assuming someone’s gender. Pronouns matter! Misgendering someone can have lasting consequences, and using the incorrect pronoun can be hurtful, disrespectful, and invalidate someone’s identity.”
Lawrence Journal-World reports the buttons are also part of the “You Belong Here” campaign:
There are three versions of the square-shaped “My pronouns are” buttons: “He him his,” “She her hers” and, for people who don’t identify themselves as male or female, “They them theirs.”
Library employees can choose whether they want to wear them, said Rebecca Smith, KU Libraries executive director of communications and advancement. She said there are extra buttons available at some library counters, and KU Libraries has reordered at least once to keep up with demand.
On their Facebook page, KU Libraries restated their commitment “to building an inclusive environment”.
Mrs. Smith could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Things like gender pronoun buttons are becoming more prevalent on college campuses.
At the beginning of this fall semester, Champlain College handed out gender pronoun buttons to incoming freshmen. The Burlington Free Press reported the buttons displayed pronouns such as “she/her and he/him to they/them and xe/xem…’Hello, my pronouns are fluid. Please ask me!'”