Last fall, the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity began including personal pronouns for those who wish to include them in our staff directory as an example of inclusive best practices.
This semester, the university has given students a similar option by allowing them to self-select their personal pronouns and gender identity in MyPack Portal. These fields are entirely optional and not required for update. If a student decides to select pronouns, the information will be visible administratively through class rosters and within the advising center. This information will not be available to parents and guardians granted access through MyPack or to peer students.
NC State is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive campus environment and thus recognizes that “a student’s sex assigned at birth, or the sex by which they are legally recognized, does not necessarily align with their gender identity or the pronouns they use to express themselves.”
How Do I Set My Pronouns and/or Gender Identity?
Students can update their pronouns and/or gender identity in MyPack Portal.
- Navigate to your student homepage.
- Select the ‘Personal Information’ tile.
- Select the ‘Pronoun/Gender Identity’ option.
- Select the appropriate options from the dropdown menu(s).
- Select ‘Save.’
What are Personal Pronouns?
Personal pronouns are words used to refer to people. They are commonly used as a shortcut when speaking, enabling us to avoid the repetition of proper names. When referring to oneself, the pronouns I/me/myself are often used. When referring to others, the pronouns she/her/hers and he/him/his are frequently used. Some use the gender-neutral and gender-inclusive pronouns they/them/theirs or ze/zir/zirs. Such options can be selected by students from the personal pronouns option in their MyPack Portal.
What is Gender Identity?
Simply put, gender identity is how individuals perceive themselves and their gender. While gender often interacts with one’s sex, the two are different as sex is biological and gender is socially constructed. The gender identity options offered in MyPack Portal are: agender, gender fluid, genderqueer, man, non-binary, two-spirit, woman and self-entered, which allows you to enter in your gender identity if not listed.
What is the Significance of Self-Selecting Pronouns and Gender Identity?
Andy Deroin, assistant director of NC State’s GLBT Center, says “Pronouns are a really important and easy way to be affirming of students’ gender identities, so I’m really glad we are able to offer a clear way for students to communicate their pronouns to professors and staff. It’s really great that NC State now offers this option for students to share their pronouns and gender identities, if they’re comfortable.”
Jenna Nabors is a third-year student majoring in communication and international studies and is a Park Scholar. Share your thoughts about this article on Twitter at @NCStateOIED.