Students are being encouraged to wear “gender pronoun” badges following the publication of a guide to pronouns released by the university students’ union last week.
A guide from the Union said that those who make assumptions based on appearance risk “singling out trans people who want to clarify their pronouns”.
The badges will be handed out to freshers at Edinburgh University during welcome week next month to help transgender people.
EUSA recently published a guide to pronoun use, explaining why it’s important to “normalise” the practice of sharing gender pronouns.
It said: “Many people assume that the pronouns they should use for an individual are obvious: people who look like men should be referred to using he/him, and people who look like women should be referred to as she/her,”
“However, these assumptions based on appearance can be frustrating and harmful, particularly for trans folks who might challenge people’s perceptions of what a man or woman looks like, and those who might use gender-neutral pronouns.”
The guide also explains that making these assumptions can be “frustrating and harmful” for transgender on non-binary students, who may in fact prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns.
“People may wish to change their pronouns throughout their life for a variety of reasons,” it said.
“Giving them the opportunity to do that without having to single themselves out is part of being a good ally to trans people.”
The students’ union added that it is important to “challenge the narrative that pronouns can be assumed”.