You may have noticed something different when scrolling through discussions on Canvas this past week: italicized pronouns in parentheses next to your classmates’ names.
For the first time at Salt Lake Community College, students can pick the pronouns they best identify with, and they will be displayed next to their name in Canvas.
“We live at a beautiful time in history where people are able to find better ways to live authentically and better language to express themselves,” Peter Moosman, coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center at SLCC, told The Globe. “As we strive to support each other and meet each other where we are, we’re able to see growth, joy, and success that otherwise wouldn’t be present. Consequently, it is essential for institutions like SLCC and Canvas to develop a framework and system to assist and engage their patrons in authentic living to improve their experience.”
As is defined on the LGBTQ+ resources page on the SLCC website, pronouns are how you refer to someone if you aren’t saying their name. Pronouns are a way to portray identity, so if someone shares their pronouns with you, it is important to use them correctly.
If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, use their name, gender-neutral pronouns like “they” or, if you’re comfortable, politely ask for their preferred pronouns. This is why it’s important for people to be able to choose the pronouns they want to display to their peers and instructors.
“Choosing to include people’s pronouns in Canvas is a vital step for SLCC to ensure some of our most marginalized students know they are seen, welcome, and included here,” said Elisa Stone, an English professor and advisor to the SLCC Queer Student Association. “For those who are transgender, non-binary, gender-fluid, or any number of LGBTQ+ identities, calling them by the pronouns they use is not only validating, it can be life-affirming; just as mis-gendering someone, whether unintentionally or deliberately, can be devastating to their dignity and self-worth. Recognizing and honoring pronouns is a concrete way we can live up to the creed on the wall of our Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center: ‘You Belong Here.’”
Just as with someone’s name, it is important for people to be aware of and use correct pronouns. It is a way to show someone you respect their identity, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with others on a more personal level.
“Seeing as sharing pronouns has become a more commonplace method for authentic living and supporting each other, the shift to allow Canvas users to display their pronouns is a great way for SLCC and Canvas to support and engage students in this process,” Moosman said.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and you are looking for support or solidarity, there are places for you to connect.
SLCC’s Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center works for and with gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and questioning SLCC students, faculty, and staff to enhance their quality of life and create a welcoming, positive, and safe environment.
Encircle is an organization that works to deepen and enrich conversations among communities of faith and those in the LGBTQ+ community. They run programs and services out of three houses across Utah to help LGBTQ+ people to teach self-love and empower their families, helping to cultivate an environment where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive.
If you are ever in need of someone to talk to or are in crisis, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. There are a number of resources available on their website to connect with other LGBTQ+ people and resources to help you. You can call a trained counselor anytime you are in need at 1-866-488-7386 or text a trained specialist by texting START to 678-678.