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Opinion: Schools should encourage sharing pronouns on Zoom

(Image courtesy of Alejandra Aguilera)

The new landscape of online learning is a challenge and fundamental shift in the way that we are used to learning in schools. However, with these changes, there is a significant opportunity for schools at every grade level to encourage the practice of adding pronouns to Zoom names.

Zoom names have the potential to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion by normalizing the use of pronouns so that everyone is comfortable sharing them and so that students aren’t misgendered in class. 

The National Institute of Health released a statement regarding the value of using a person’s correct pronouns, saying using a preferred pronoun, using a gender-neutral one if unsure, is an easy way to show respect. 

Using a person’s pronouns correctly is extremely important and needs to be more strongly encouraged in schools. Zoom classes are a great opportunity for this because people actually have the ability to change their names and add pronouns to the end of their last name.

However, it shouldn’t just be LGBTQ+ students adding their pronouns because normalizing the practice of identifying one’s pronouns is a fundamental aspect of inclusion. 

When allys of the LGBTQIA+ community take part in this practice[sharing pronouns], they signal to Queer individuals that they are an ally as well as open up the conversation for a Queer individual to share their identity back,” UNC Wilmington’s LGBTQIA resource center said.

Normalizing the practice of sharing one’s pronouns for all individuals regardless of whether they are LGBTQ+ or not is a simple and necessary step towards promoting the acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in schools. This practice should be encouraged by administrators, teachers and students.

For students and teachers, in particular, a great way to start this practice is to add your pronouns to your Zoom name and encourage your friends/students to do the same. The steps to permanently add your pronouns to your name for every zoom call is as follows: 

  1. Open the Zoom app and select the Settings icon in the upper right corner. 
  2. Select Profile. 
  3. Select Edit Profile. 
  4. Click Edit next to your name. 
  5. Write in your pronouns after your last name. (ex: Fisher (she/her))
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