The Harvard Kennedy School of Government rolled out optional gender pronoun stickers for students last month, but at least one gender non-binary student said such stickers make gender identity a "disproportionately prominent" part of their identity.
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“I identify as non-binary because gender is not important to me — putting a sticker right next to my name ironically feels like it would make gender a disproportionately prominent part of my identity,” student Morgan R. Pratt told student newspaper The Harvard Crimson. “That being said, I was very proud to see the activism around pronouns here at HKS. It makes me feel more respected in a sea of people otherwise ignoring or opposing the issue.”
The school now provides tags with pre-printed options like "He/Him" and "Ze/Hir."
Harvard is one of many colleges focusing on providing an inclusive atmosphere for students regardless of gender identity. At least 40 U.S. colleges let students signal their preferred gender pronouns on class rosters, according to data compiled by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Stonewall Center.
“We thought that our students’ idea to introduce these stickers was a great way to help make every student feel fully welcome at the Kennedy School, so we ensured that the message announcing the stickers went to all of our faculty and staff as well as all of our students,” Harvard Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf told The Crimson.
Diego Garcia Blum, vice president of diversity in the Kennedy School student government, sent a schoolwide email explaining that the decision "is a welcome signal to our trans and gender nonconforming students to be their full selves in any space in our school," The Crimson reported.
"There are a lot of people here from the Kennedy School who — this is something completely new to them,” Garcia Blum told The Crimson. “If you’re unsure about the pronouns somebody may use, it’s OK to ask. And if you see somebody that has something like gender nonbinary pronouns, you know, it’s something that you understand, and you can address them correctly.”