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Sussex encourages students and staff to wear pronoun badges as part of trans awareness campaign

Badges pointing out that you can’t assume someone’s gender identity and which pronouns they use will be distributed on the University of Sussex campus next week.

Wearing the badges, to coincide with International Transgender Day of Visibility on 31 March, will be voluntary.

The #MyPronounsAre campaign has been put together by Brighton & Hove City Council with support and involvement from the University of Sussex and other partners such as local NHS trusts, the University of Brighton and Sussex Police. Also involved are local LGBT+ community groups including the Clare Project.

In the past, pronouns for individuals have described only male or female – he or she, his or hers. Now, the city-wide campaign is aiming to raise awareness of trans and non-binary people and the fact that everyone has their own gender identity.

The city council say: “Making assumptions can be hurtful and distressing, so it helps to know what pronouns people use.”

At Sussex, the badges will form part of the REDS campaign, which provides Sussex students with the knowledge and skills to facilitate workshops and activities that tackle gender discrimination and violence on campus.

During the week starting 26 March, badges will be available at the following places across campus so that students and staff can take part in the #MyPronounsAre campaign:

  • Student Life Centre reception
  • International Student Support front desk
  • School Offices
  • Library café and SussexFood outlets
  • from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champions within each school or division

The following badges will be available:

  • ‘She, her, hers’
  • ‘He, him, his’
  • ‘They, their, theirs’
  • ‘Please use my name’
  • Blank, for the wearer to fill in
  • ‘#MyPronounsAre’

The Students’ Union at Sussex already uses similar badges and has a policy to use gender neutral pronouns in its correspondence, meetings and activities.

Claire Annesley, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality and Diversity, says: “We’re proud of being a diverse campus, and the University is committed to equality and inclusion for all people including our trans and non-binary students and staff.

“As International  Transgender Day of Visibility approaches, we are delighted to celebrate the diversity and tolerance of our community by taking part in the #MyPronounsAre campaign.”

Other initiatives include staff training on trans awareness; in February the Staff Development Unit (SDU) offered a workshop for the first time at Sussex. Taking into account feedback from participants on this pilot session, SDU will be running additional sessions later in the academic year.  

Information and links for trans students are available via the Health and Wellbeing pages of the University website. See also guidance from the Equality Challenge Unit on support for trans staff and students in higher education.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Thursday, 22 March 2018


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