Resources for Faculty, Staff, & TAs

Introduction

In August 2019, we began developing this resource page to support faculty, staff, and TAs in building capacity for LGBTQIA2S+ equity and inclusion at Michigan State University. This collection of suggested practices is comprised of the answers to the most commonly requested resources and commonly asked questions.

On this page we include:

If you do not find what you are looking for, please visit the following sites:

If you have a question or have a suggestion for this page, please email us

If you are seeking consultation, email our director. 


 

Promising Practices Documents

Promising Practices for Collecting and Managing Names, Gender, Pronouns, Honorifics, and Sexual Identities

HTML PDF

Promising Practices for LGBTQIA2S+ Communications

HTML PDF

Promising Practices for Restrooms

HTML PDF

Student Name and Pronoun Collection Form

HTML PDF

 

Suggested Practices for Creating Inclusive Educational Spaces for LGBTQIA2S+ Students

 

Pronouns and Name

  • Using a student’s name and pronouns can help create a positive learning environment for LGBTQIA2S+ students.

  • Please use the name a student asks you to use.

  • Please use the pronouns a student asks you to use.

  • Do not refer to pronouns as “preferred pronouns.” Please refer to them as “pronouns” or “personal pronouns.”

  • Do not refer to a person's legal name as their "real" name.

  • Please refer to the name a person uses as their name, instead of their "preferred" or "chosen" name.

For more support in this area, please visit our Pronouns page or the "Promising Practices for Collecting and Managing Names, Gender, Pronouns, Honorifics, and Sexual Identities" document above. 

 


Use Inclusive Language

  • Check your assumptions about a student’s identity, sexuality, pronouns, marital/relationship status, and/or the gender of their partner(s).

  • Use gender-inclusive language when speaking generally. For example, refrain from using phrases like “Ladies and Gentleman” and “you guys.”

  • Avoid or expand honorifics. Refrain from using gendered honorifics like “Mr.” or “Ms.” If you do use honorifics, allow students to select the honorific that best aligns with their identity and include “Mx.” as an option. “Mx.” is pronounced “mix” or “mixter” and is often used as an honorific for nonbinary, agender, and genderqueer people.

  • Listen for, honor, and mirror the language a student uses to self-identify.

  • Keep up to date on current terminology and avoid problematic language. Check out our LGBTQA+ Glossary.

For more support in this area, please visit the "Promising Practices for LGBTQIA2S+ Communications" document above. 

 


 Calling Roll and Addressing Students

Names

  • If a student shows up to an appointment, please refrain from calling out their legal name. Instead, use their last name or their chosen name.

  • Please do not simply call roll at the beginning of class. Instead, consider asking students to go around the room and introduce themselves. This allows students the opportunity to share the name they use and pronounce their name correctly for you. Allowing students to name themselves provides our students with a chance to share a name that may be different from their legal name–something of particular importance to the trans and nonbinary community.

Pronouns

  • Start with sharing your own pronouns. This sets the tone for the class and signals that sharing and respecting pronouns is a part of a cultural norm, as well as an expectation for all.

  • Pronoun Go-Rounds: A “pronoun go-round” is an activity in which a group introduces themselves and shares their names and pronouns (along with answering other prompts, such as: “what is your favorite type of cookie?”). Setting up a pronoun go-round can be complicated, but it is one possible option when it is done well.

    • Things to be mindful of:

      • There are different risks and costs involved when trans and nonbinary people share their pronouns. The practice of sharing pronouns can be complicated in spaces that feel less safe.

      • Some people are exploring their gender identities and may not feel comfortable sharing their pronouns. 

      • Pronoun sharing is more difficult and dangerous for some people than for others. 

    • How to set it up:

“We’re going to begin today by spending some time getting to know one another. Instead of calling roll, I would like us to go around the room and share some information about ourselves so that we can start building our learning community. I would like for each of you to share you name, your class year, your major, the pronouns you would like for us to use for you in this space, and one thing you want to get out of our semester together.”

“For some of you sharing your pronoun may feel new or different. Sharing our pronouns is one easy way in which we make our class more inclusive for transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer students. Personal pronouns are words that are used to describe us in place of our names. Most people use “he/him/his” or “she/her/hers.” Some people use “they/them/theirs” or another set of neopronouns. Some people just ask others to use their name. These are linguistic tools that allow us know how to reference an individual person.”

“Using the pronouns a person asks you to use shows your respect for them. I would request that all of us try out sharing our pronouns, but I understand that for some transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer students, sharing your pronouns in this space, might not feel comfortable just yet and that’s okay. However, I would ask that the cisgender folks in the room please share the pronouns you would like us to use. Lean into the discomfort and try it out.”

“I will get us started. My name is _______. My pronouns are ________. My major was ________. And, one thing I’m hoping to get out of this class is ______. Okay. Who would like to go next?”

 

  • When hosting pronoun go-rounds:
    • Please do:
      • Remind people of the prompts at some point in the exercise, especially if people are not answering all of the prompts. For example: “I am noticing that folks are not answering all of the prompts, here they are again…” 
      • Note what people share (names and pronouns) and be sure to use their correct name and pronouns. 
    • Please do not:
      • Do not challenge individuals who have not shared their pronouns because you assume they are cisgender--you do not know anyone’s pronouns or gender identity unless they tell you.
      • Make pronoun sharing mandatory.

 

  • More to consider:
    • At some point you may want to consider having a conversation about how you want to respond as a community when someone makes a mistake.
    • Please note that sharing your pronouns and encouraging others to share their pronouns is a simple way to work toward trans inclusion, but it is not nor should it be the only way. This is a first, easy option for many people, but it is just the beginning of the work

 

  • Other Options:
    • Name Placards (with Pronouns)
      • In smaller, discussion-based classes, using a placard or table-tent can be an excellent option. You can simply amend the pronoun go-round script, but instead of asking people to introduce themselves with pronouns, you can ask them to put their name and pronouns on a placard or table tent.
    • Student Information Form
      • One great option is to ask students to complete a brief form which you may then reconcile with your records. This is the most private way to get this information, but it does not allow for students to learn each other’s pronouns. Here is an example of a possible form to use.
For more support in this area, please visit the "Promising Practices for LGBTQIA2S+ Communications" document or the "Student Name and Pronoun Collection Form" documents above. 

 


 Syllabi

  • Consider including your personal pronouns on your syllabi with your name and contact information.

  • Consider including language regarding name and gender change on your syllabus. Suggested language is as follows:

    • “Name and Pronoun Policy: All people have the right to be addressed and referred to in accordance with their personal identity. Many people do not identify with the name on their birth certificate, school ID, or other forms of identification. In this class, I will include the opportunity for students to indicate the name and the pronouns they use. If you would like to change your name, you can do that through StuInfo. Your gender marker can be changed by filing a request at the Office of the Registrar at the Hannah Administration Building. More information about MSU’s preferred name policy can be found at: https://gscc.msu.edu/trans-msu/msu-preferred-name-policy/. I will do my best to respect students by using the correct name and pronouns for them. Please advise me at any point if you need to update your name and/or pronouns in my records.”

 

In Class Discussions and Lectures

  • When calling on a student, use the name and pronouns they have asked you to use.

  • Do not rely on LGBTQIA2S+ students to speak for all LGBTQIA2S+ people. They are experts on their own experience, but that does not mean they are able to speak for a community as diverse as the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

  • Be mindful of LGBTQIA2S+ stereotypes.

  • Interrupt bias when it happens and model inclusive behavior.

  • Include LGBTQIA2S+ topics and identities, share the stories of LGBTQIA2S+ people, and assign readings by LGBTQIA2S+ authors.

 


Assignments

  • Please do not assign students to attend an LGBTQIA2S+ student organization to observe. There are plenty of events on LGBTQIA2S+ topics on campus that students can attend. Having your students attend an LGBTQIA2S+ student organization’s meeting for class credit is disrespectful to the student leaders and infringes of student’s privacy.

  • Please do not assign LGBTQIA2S+ students LGBTQIA2S+ specific work, unless everyone else is participating. If students are allowed to select their own project or research topic, encourage all students to consider a wide range of topics, including ones related to LGBTQIA2S+ topics and identities.

  • Please do not ask LGBTQIA2S+ students to speak for all of their identity group.

 


Additional Suggested Practices

  • Maintain solid boundaries. Sometimes when a person learns about the sexual or gender identity of another person, they feel that the boundaries of the relationship have altered. It is important that we keep in mind that when it comes to our students, the boundaries have not shifted. For example, if you learn a student is transgender, it is not okay to ask them about their hopes for future surgeries.

  • Educate yourself on LGBTQIA2S+ identities and topics. Do not rely on your LGBTQIA2S+ students to be the primary resource of your knowledge on this topic.

  • What they share with you should compliment your learning. We have plenty of resources throughout our website to help guide you through LGBTQIA2S+ topics.