First-Ever International Pronouns Day

By Dan Verderosa, October 12, 2018
IC LGBT Center director helps create holiday to make asking, sharing and respecting personal pronouns commonplace.
Buttons with different pronouns on them

As part of International Pronouns Day, the LGBT Center will distribute pronoun buttons.

(Photo by Natalie Jenereski/Ithaca College)

On October 17, Ithaca College will celebrate the first-ever International Pronouns Day with a series of activities to raise awareness about the importance of respecting people’s personal pronouns.

Luca Maurer, director of the college’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services, helped organize International Pronouns Day as a member of the holiday’s executive board. He said transgender people are often harassed through the intentional or repeated use of the wrong pronouns.

“Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity,” said Maurer. “Using the right pronouns is a critical step in acknowledging the humanity of transgender people.”

Read Luca Maurer’s commentary in The Advocate

The LGBT Center has a number of activities planned for October 17 focused on normalizing the asking, sharing and respectful use of personal pronouns. A professional development session will educate faculty and staff about sharing and asking about pronouns, while an information table in the Campus Center will provide resources on pronoun use. Members of the campus community are also invited to decorate cookies with their personal pronouns.

In the run-up to International Pronouns Day, the LGBT Center is launching a social media campaign featuring members of the college community wearing buttons with their pronouns. Cal Goodin ’19, a student who works in the LGBT Center, designed a series of Facebook frames to raise awareness of the holiday.

Maurer joined the International Pronouns Day executive board after learning about the project through colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Maryland. “Having an international day is a way to extend the efforts and reach of each of our individual offices, and share resources, strategies and best practices throughout higher education and across our communities at large around the globe,” he said.

Over 500 groups and individuals from more than a dozen countries, including colleges and universities, community organizations, professional associations and private businesses, have endorsed the holiday or registered to organize local activities. Mayor Svante Myrick issued a proclamation recognizing International Pronouns Day in the City of Ithaca.

Attend an International Pronouns Day event

Find more information on the IC Events Calendar.