Student's union bans use of gender-specific pronouns

The union's policy is to prevent misgendering of its students

Student's union bans use of gender-specific pronouns

File photo of a gender neutral bathroom. | Image: Rich Pedroncelli AP/Press Association Images

A student's union in England is banning the use of gender-specific pronouns - 'he' and 'she' - to avoid assumptions being made as to how people identify.

Sussex University new gender inclusive policy has been introduced to discourage members from using the terms before establishing a person's preferred pronouns, and to prevent misgendering of its students.

The policy states that preferred pronouns should be stated at the beginning of every meeting, regardless of whether they have been stated at previous meetings, and that gender neutral language should be used when the pronoun is not known.

The policy continues: "In situations where introductions are not appropriate or where an individual has not directly stated their pronouns, gender-neutral language should be used to refer to them, and no assumptions should be made based on presentation or appearance.

"The gender-neutral pronoun ‘they’ should be used as opposed to ‘he’ or ‘she’, and the pronoun ‘them’ as opposed to ‘him’ or ‘her’.

"Individuals whose gender identities are not known should not be described as ‘men’ or ‘women’, and inclusive terms such as ‘person’ should be used instead.

"The use of gender-neutral language by other students in situations where pronouns have not been stated should be encouraged, although this is impractical to enforce."

The policy also insists the person's preferred name be used and their former name not be revealed.


In 2014, Sussex University introduced gender neutral bathroom in 75 facilities across the campus, calling it a "massive win" and a "great achievement".