College is a time of self-discovery for many students. When this self-awareness centers around gender identity, it can mean changes in the names and/or pronouns students use. To help create a safer and more inclusive classroom experience for our transgender and non-binary students, please consider adopting some of the following best practices in your classes.
If you haven’t yet taken the Safe Zone training, it provides information and tools to help faculty support LGBTQ students and colleagues. Vanderbilt University also offers some helpful resources for faculty, including their guide to Teaching Beyond the Gender Binary and a pronoun tip sheet with ideas for starting the conversation in the classroom. I hope to eventually create a guide of our own, but in the meantime I am happy to consult with faculty about how to incorporate these practices into their teaching. You can also find OSU-Cascades resources for the LGBTQ students on our website here: https://osucascades.edu/diversity/students/lgbtq-students.
Thank you for your commitment to creating an inclusive classroom and helping all of our students thrive!
Erin Rook, Diversity Coordinator, OSU-Cascades
If you are interested in including language on your syllabus, here is a suggestion:
"We have an opportunity in this class to hear from people with different viewpoints and open some lines of communication about difficult or emotional topics. All opinions are welcome, as long as they are grounded in the evidence and presented respectfully. I reserve the right to manage, intercede, side-line, or stop a conversation if it is leading us too far off track or if it is disrespectful to others.
My name is Dr. Smith and I use the pronouns she, her and hers. Pronouns are the parts of speech we use to refer to someone instead of their name. Using the right pronoun, like using someone’s correct name or title, is a way to show respect."