The University of Arizona provides all students and employees with an opportunity to voluntarily add their pronouns in UAccess, the system of record for student and employee information. This best practice allows us to create a campus culture where members of the University community feel welcomed, valued and respected.
What are pronouns?
Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people, such as they/them/their, she/her/hers, or he/him/his. Pronouns are used in everyday language and are frequently used in place of people’s names. Knowing someone’s pronouns informs us how to best refer to them.
Why do we share our pronouns?
Just like names, pronouns are an important part of how people identify themselves, and using someone’s correct pronouns is an important way to recognize and respect their identity.
The University community is comprised of individuals from all over the world with names in many different languages. It is impossible to know someone’s pronouns simply by looking at them or reading their name. Therefore, it is important not to assume you know someone’s pronouns based merely on your perception of their name, appearance or gender expression. Assuming someone’s gender identity can be hurtful, especially to members of our community who are transgender, genderqueer, gender diverse or nonbinary.
Using more than one set of pronouns
Some people use a combination of pronouns, for example using both they/them/their and she/her/hers or they/them/theirs and he/him/his. When an individual has more than one set of pronouns listed, they feel comfortable being addressed using multiple pronouns.
Types of Pronouns
These gendered pronouns are often used to refer to men or a person who identifies as male, but not always.
- Morgan invited me to dinner with his friends this weekend.
- He is a good friend.
These gendered pronouns are often used to refer to women or a person who identifies as female, but not always.
- Jordan said she is studying for an exam tonight
- She is an excellent student.
A non-gendered or all-gender pronoun. They/them may also be used when pronouns are unknown. These function as both a singular and plural pronoun. Non-gendered pronouns are used for a variety of reasons which may or may not include identity in the LGBTQIA2P+ community. It is important that assumptions are not made regarding the reasons why non-gendered or all-gender pronouns are used by any individual in our community.
- Wilbur recently got into graduate school. I am so excited for them!
- They are an active member of the UA community.
A non-gendered pronoun. Pronounced “zee”, “zem”, and “zer”. As indicated above, Non-gendered pronouns are used for a variety of reasons which may or may not include identity in the LGBTQIA2P+ community. It is important that assumptions are not made regarding the reasons why non-gendered or all-gender pronouns are used by any individual in our community.
- Wilma has worked really hard and xe got a promotion!
- I asked xem for career advice.
A non-gendered pronoun. Pronounced “zee” and “zer”. As indicated above, Non-gendered pronouns are used for a variety of reasons which may or may not include identity in the LGBTQIA2P+ community. It is important that assumptions are not made regarding the reasons why non-gendered or all-gender pronouns are used by any individual in our community.
- I really like working with Cameron. Ze is chairing the search committee for the new position in our office.
- Ze is a really hard worker.
How do I add, update or remove my pronouns?
All students and employees are able to voluntarily add, update or remove their pronouns in UAccess Student and/or UAccess Employee.
- Log in to UAccess Student Center
- Navigate to the Personal menu and click on Personal Summary
- On the Personal Information Summary page, click the Update Information button
- Click the Update Pronoun button
- Choose your pronouns from the dropdown menu and click “Save Pronoun”
- Log in to UAccess Employee and select the UA Employee Main Homepage
- Click on the Personal Information tile
- Select Pronouns from the menu on the left
- Choose your pronouns from the dropdown menu and click “Save”
Where will pronouns be shared?
Pronoun information may be used in a variety of places across campus including, but not limited to, the University's Phonebook (beginning Oct. 26, 2021), class rosters, advising reports, etc. Displaying pronouns in these places helps to create a campus culture where pronouns are respected and used accurately.
Tips & Best Practices
When meeting someone for the first time, you can share your pronouns, which allows others to feel comfortable doing the same. For example, “My name is Jordan and I use she/her pronouns. How would you like to be addressed?”
Include pronouns on email signatures, name tags, and during meeting or class introductions. Incorporating inclusive language contributes to a culture of inclusion on campus.
Do not assume you know someone’s pronouns based merely on your perception of their appearance or gender expression. Use the person’s name or nongendered they/them/their pronouns until the person has shared their pronouns with you.
Pronoun usage is a person's choice and part of their identity. Do not make assumptions about a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender diversity based on pronouns. Be supportive. Why a pronoun is chosen is outside of your purview, but supporting your colleagues based on their identity choices is within your purview and supports goals of inclusive excellence.
Mistakes happen. If you address someone using the wrong pronouns, graciously accept correction, offer an apology, and use their correct pronouns moving forward. You could say, "I’m sorry, I meant they." There is no need to draw undue attention to your mistake as it can make the person who was misgendered feel uncomfortable and responsible for comforting you.