‘My pronouns are…’: College library workers wear buttons announcing preferred gender pronouns

‘My pronouns are…’: College library workers wear buttons announcing preferred gender pronouns
Anschutz Library at the University of Kansas. (Image source: YouTube screen cap)

A sign posted at University of Kansas Libraries spells it out.

“Because gender is, itself, fluid and up to the individual,” the sign says, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. “Each person has the right to identify their own pronouns, and we encourage you to ask before assuming someone’s gender. Pronouns matter! Misgendering someone can have lasting consequences, and using the incorrect pronoun can be hurtful, disrespectful, and invalidate someone’s identity.”

Now some library employees are wearing buttons that announce their preferred gender pronouns, the Journal-World reported.

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The “My pronouns are” buttons come in three versions: “He him his,” “She her hers” and “They them theirs” — the latter for those who don’t identify as male or female, the paper said.

Library employees aren’t required to wear the buttons, the Journal-World noted, and buttons are available for students. It’s all part of a “You Belong Here” campaign aimed at undergraduates — including those who are transgender — and ensuring they feel welcome, library officials told the paper.

“We’ve told all of our front-line employees, if a student asks, give them a button,” Rebecca Smith, KU Libraries executive director of communications and advancement, told the Journal-World, adding that buttons have been reordered at least once to keep up with demand.

Dean of Libraries Kevin Smith (no relation to Rebecca Smith) said the button campaign reflects the stances that libraries have historically taken: “A commitment to support the voices of marginalized people is part and parcel to the libraries’ commitment to the values of the First Amendment.”

“You Belong Here” signs in the library also provide locations of “gender-inclusive” bathrooms, reflection rooms for meditation and prayer and lactation stations, the Journal-World reported.

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