UMN offers 'nonbinary gender pronouns' writing guide

Mitchell Gunter
South Carolina Campus Correspondent

  • The University of Minnesota is offering students a resource guide to help them utilize "nonbinary gender pronouns" in their writing.
  • The guide includes a chart listing examples of such pronouns, encouraging students to “practice using nonbinary gender pronouns so that they become more automatic.”
  • The University of Minnesota's "nonbinary gender pronouns" resource guide.

    Students at the University of Minnesota (UMN) have a resource guide to help them utilize nonbinary gender pronouns in their writing.

    The Campus Climate UMN Twitter account recently promoted the guide in a tweet depicting the pronouns, calling the guide a “terrific resource for understanding nonbinary pronouns.”

    "Even when they know the pronouns...they can struggle to incorporate those pronouns in their writing."   

    The resource guide takes the form of a gender pronouns chart on the UMN Center for Writing’s website.

    “Many people understand the existence of gender pronouns beyond the binary (she/her/hers or he/him/his). However, they may not be familiar with how to use those pronouns in sentences,” the problem statement reads.

    “As a result, even when they know the pronouns of reference for a person, they can struggle to incorporate those pronouns in their writing,” the problem statement concludes, listing a possible solution as, “learn the typical forms that nonbinary gender pronouns can take.”

    [RELATED: App State requests gender-inclusivity disclaimer on papers]

    “The following chart provides examples of some nonbinary gender pronouns in a variety of forms,” the website continues, listing pronouns such as, “they/them/theirs,” “ey/em/eirs,” “ze/zir/zirs,” and “co/co/co’s.” The website reports that the chart was adapted from the LGBT Campus Center’s “Gender Pronouns Guide” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, though the citation link is currently broken.

    Additionally, the guide advises readers to “practice using nonbinary gender pronouns so that they become more automatic.”

    Students are also referred to the “Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog” to familiarize themselves “with how nonbinary pronouns appear in context.”

    Finally, the guide suggests that writers “consider adding an explanatory footnote” if the writer’s audience is not familiar with nonbinary pronouns. An example footnote reads, “in this paper, I use the nonbinary gender pronouns [name them] because the people I am citing and/or to whom I am referring use these pronouns to refer to themselves. It is important to me that I respect their identities in my writing by using the appropriate gender pronouns.”

    According to an article on UMN’s Campus Climate Page, “this terrific resource to better understand gender pronouns, especially in the context of writing, was created collaboratively by Katie Levin, Co-Director, Center for Writing; and Melinda Lee, Assistant Director, Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life.”

    However, the Campus Climate Page stipulates that the article is a perspective, and that, “’Perspectives’ stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.”

    Campus Reform reached out to the University of Minnesota Center for Writing, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter



    Mitchell Gunter

    Mitchell Gunter

    South Carolina Campus Correspondent

    Mitchel Gunter is a South Carolina Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. He is currently studying civil engineering at Clemson University.

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