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International Pronouns Day

October 21, 2020

International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. 

Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.

Show your support for normalizing sharing pronouns on Wednesday, October 21st by using one of our premade Zoom/Teams backgrounds featuring your personal pronouns! Option 3 for each also includes a QR code to the International Pronouns Day website so anyone can learn more.


He/Him/His Background 1

He/Him/His Background 2

He/Him/His Background 3

She/Her/Hers Background 1

She/Her/Hers Background 2

She/Her/Hers Background 3

They/Them/Theirs Background 1

They/Them/Theirs Background 2

They/Them/Theirs Background 3


Don't see your pronouns here? Feel free to add your own to these backgrounds!

Blank Template Background 1

Blank Template Background 2

Blank Template Background 3



Pronouns 101

Here we will continue to compile helpful information and resources on the importance of pronouns and how to use them. If you have any further questions or feel that there is information that is missing/incorrect, please don't hesitate to contact our office at


 What are pronouns?

Pronouns are used to refer to a person in place of using that person’s name. In many languages, pronouns are used to signal formality and respect for people of higher family, professional, or social status, and informality and intimacy with people with whom we share closer, more intimate connections. 

Pronouns are also used to signal a person’s gender. In English, the most common pronouns used to refer to someone in the third person are he/him/his, she/her/hers, and they/them/theirs. Many other sets of pronouns have been created or drawn from other languages. Some of those sets of pronouns include e/em/eir, xe/xem/xyr, ze/zie, hir/hir/hirs, and shkle/shkler/shklers. There are other pronoun options not listed here.

Why do pronouns matter?

The words we use to talk to and about a person can show that we respect, honor, and value that person. By using the correct pronouns to talk about someone, you show that you not only respect and value that person, but also that you respect the right of all people to be seen, valued, and respected.

As a general rule, it’s important to ask people what pronouns they use instead of assuming based on how a person looks, acts, or sounds.

What is the difference between pronouns and "preferred" pronouns? 

Most often, individuals do not have a "preference" with their pronouns; they simply have pronounsUsing "preferred" as a qualifier can indicate that respecting someone's pronouns is optional.

To avoid the misconception that respecting someone's pronouns is optional, do not use "preferred" to describe pronouns. 

What if I mess up someone's pronouns and/or hear someone else mess up someone's pronouns?

If you accidentally use the wrong pronouns for someone, correct yourself, apologize, and move on. If you hear someone else use the wrong pronouns for someone, it may be appropriate to correct that person immediately or to follow up privately with that person to make sure they know what pronouns to use.

Recognize that it is exhausting for trans and gender non-conforming folks to constantly have to correct those they are interacting with to ensure they are not misgendered. It is your responsibility to ensure that is not their reality. 


To list or change your personal pronouns displayed on Canvas, navigate to Account > Profile > Edit Profile.

Infographic on gender specific and gender neutral pronouns

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