Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Ally (LGBTQA) Affairs

Why Pronouns Matter

Dear  Wright State University Family,

An increasing number of college students are developing their identities as transgender and gender non-conforming.  The office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Ally (LBGTQA) Affairs recognizes that many faculty members are eager to provide a safe and welcoming environment for their students, yet may not have had the opportunity to access information about the needs and experiences of different populations of students on campus. Transgender and gender non-conforming students could be one of these populations.

For many transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, the lack of congruity between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth can create stress and anxiety which can be magnified in the context of an unfamiliar classroom setting. Providing an inclusive environment will not only enhance academic success for transgender and gender non-conforming students, but will also ensure compliance with Wright State’s non-discrimination policy requiring educational institutions to not discriminate on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression.

We encourage and expect that you use a person chosen name and their pronouns.  In an effort to foster a less-stressful environment for the student, the Office of LGBTQA Affairs asks that you respect student’s gender identities and/or gender expressions and make a conscious effort to use their chosen name and the pronouns when referring to them.

A pronoun is a word that a person uses to identify themselves. For example: If Jamie’s pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say “Jamie ate her food because she was hungry.” The most commonly used pronouns include she, her, hers and he, him, his. These are often referred to as “female/feminine” and “male/masculine” pronouns.

However some people avoid these male/female labels, and instead, prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns or simply request that they be referred to by their first name instead of a pronoun. Some of the most common gender-neutral pronouns and the applications of such are as follows. These may seem grammatically challenging at first, but can be utilized effortlessly with commitment and practice.

  • They, them, theirs – Jamie ate their food because they were hungry.

  • Ze, hir – Jamie ate hir food because ze was hungry.

    • Ze is pronounced like “zee” can also be spelled zie or xe. It can be used to replace she/he/they

    • Hir is pronounced like “here” and can replace her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

Not using a student’s correct name and pronouns can make the student feel disrespected, can potentially out this student to their peers, and can create a classroom environment that could be very difficult for them to thrive in.

We understand that pronouns and their usage for a person may be new to you and that is okay! One of the best ways to create an inclusive learning environment is to utilize your resources to become knowledgeable and stay up to date about these issues. The Office of LGBTQA Affairs is available to help answer any questions you may have about student-specific needs or general questions you may have. We also offer a wide array of training options which are available in an effort to help the Wright State campus become as inclusive as possible.

Please contact the Director for the Office of LGBTQA Affairs, Petey Peterson for more information. You can reach them by email at or by phone at 937-775-4611.


Chosen Name & Pronoun Resource for Students:

Feel free to print out and utilize this resource as often as you need. This is a great resource to use for the first week of classes to give to your instructors & professors so that they use your chosen name & pronouns on the first day. There are also printed copies of this resource in the LGBTQA Community Engagement Room (Student Union 016)

PDF iconChosen Name & Pronoun Handout (1).pdf

Additional Gender Prounouns Resources:

GLSEN Pronouns Resource

Trans Student Educational Resources Pronouns 101