School children given pronoun stickers to help transgender classmates
A selection of UK schools are handing out pronoun stickers and badges in a move to help transgender pupils feel more supported.
In an effort to tackle ‘misgendering’ – the act of addressing a person using the wrong pronoun – in the classroom, Brighton and Hove City Council has this week launched a campaign across secondary schools and colleges.
According to the Independent, the stickers and badges will indicate whether the wearer would like to be addressed as “he”, “she” or “they”, with some left blank so people can write their own pronoun.
The designs also include slogans, such as “respect my pronouns, respect me”, “gender is a spectrum” and “trans ally”.
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It follows the council’s announcement in December that school children will be taught that boys can have periods too in a bid to make teaching of menstruation inclusive of all genders.
The council has said that wearing the badges and stickers in schools will be voluntary.
“The badges and stickers help raise awareness that you can’t assume someone’s gender identity and the pronouns they use,” a council spokesman said.
“We know from a range of evidence that gender is more complicated than is traditionally recognised.
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“We all define our own gender and we should respect other people’s identities and rights.”
They added: “We’re proud of being a diverse city, and the council is committed to equality and inclusion for all people, including our trans and non-binary residents.
“Our equality and inclusion strategy rightly supports those who are experiencing greatest disadvantage.”
Pupils who misgender their transgender classmates can cause a lot of harm, according to trans rights campaigner Sophie Cook.
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She told The Argus: “The problem is that people look at one incident of misgendering and think it’s just one word.
“But it’s not just one word, it is that word ten times a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”
Of how the stickers could be a force for good, Cook added: “It’s a great way of making people think about identities of the people they’re talking to.”
Last year, the council distributed pronoun badges to Brighton University for both students and staff.