Physics conference urges attendees to wear 'pronoun stickers'

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) encouraged attendees of its winter summit to wear “pronoun stickers” in order to “reduce instances of misgendering.”

Organizers of the seasonal gathering were apparently so concerned about the prospect of “misgendering” that they even cautioned participants entering the meeting to “get [their] pronoun sticker!”

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“As part of ongoing efforts to improve inclusiveness at AAPT National Meetings, we are providing stickers with pronouns that can be attached to name badges,” a sign welcoming attendees at this winter’s meeting stated, going on to suggest that such a practice will “make it easy” for “people to communicate their pronoun sets to others, especially for people who use uncommon pronouns or who have recently changed which pronouns they use.”

Additionally, the “pronoun stickers” apparently help attendees to “know which pronouns to use for someone [they] just met, especially if [they’re] unsure” about another’s pronouns while prompting “conversations among AAPT members about gender, and [raising] awareness that gender is complicated.”

The sign goes on to explain that in addition to the standard “she/her/hers and he/him/his” pronouns, other “pronoun sets include they/them/theirs and ze/zir/zirs,” each of which “includes subjective, objective, and possessive cases.”

“Gender can be fluid, and many of the people you will encounter at WM17 [Winter Meeting 17] will fall at various places across the spectrum,” the sign goes on to assert, explaining that its intent is to “reduce instances of misgendering” by asking those at the meeting to “use the pronouns indicated on attendees’ name badges.”

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What’s more, the sign invited participants of AAPT’s winter meeting to avail themselves of “several resources, including workshops on “creating inclusive environments” and “keeping underrepresented groups in physics” plus a “meet-up for members and supporters of the LGBTQ community.”

Expressing its unequivocal support for the sign, the AAPT later re-tweeted a picture of the sign posted by a conference attendee praising the pronoun sticker concept as “a simple way to be inclusive.”

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