April 18, the UW Tacoma community will have an opportunity to create a pronoun button at the Center for Equity and Inclusion from noon to 1 p.m. The arts and crafts filled event will serve as a platform for a discussion about gender pronouns.
All are welcome to attend regardless of arts and crafts skills or knowledge of pronouns. There will be various templates provided, but participants are also invited to go off script and be creative if they feel inclined to do so. Participants will also be given information about pronouns, additional resources that the Center provides and more upcoming events.
Theo Calhoun is the identity program coordinator at the Center and the main point of contact for the event. Through a collaborative effort from Calhoun and others at the Center, they decided to make use of an item they never use in their office — their button maker — to create an opportunity for discussion and learning.
“We want to do more programming for queer students,” Calhoun said. “Programs are important and identity is important, including recognition of identity by peers. We thought, well we have a button maker, why not use this as an opportunity for everyone to learn more?”
When this idea was brought to Nedralani Mailo, program support supervisor for the Center, she agreed that this would be great way to bring attention to an important issue.
“They figured this would be a great way to use and normalize pronouns,” Mailo said. “This is not only for the LGBTQ community. It’s a normal thing for everyone to use. We want to raise awareness in a way that doesn’t stigmatize the [LGBTQ] community.”
According to Calhoun, participants are free to drop by anytime during the button making event.
“There will be intentional discussion at the beginning,” Calhoun said. “We will discuss usage of pronouns and asking for a person’s pronoun. We want it to be an open discussion throughout the event.”
Mailo expressed that she hopes events such as this will make gender pronoun use a more regular practice for everyone.
“For some it is a new cultural shift. It is a well needed cultural shift,” Mailo said. “This practice needs to be more inclusive by including everyone.”