Kansas University libraries will now offer students, staff and visitors the choice of wearing “gender inclusive” buttons identifying their preferred gender pronouns, in order to help promote a “welcoming environment” on campus.
The buttons, which read, “He/Him/His,” “She/Her/Hers” or “They/Them/Theirs” are part of a year-long effort on behalf of the KU library’s “You Belong Here” marketing campaign touting the school as warm, welcoming, and tolerant.
“Because gender is, itself, fluid and up to the individual, each person has the right to identify their own pronouns, and we encourage you to ask before assuming someone’s gender,” a sign in the library above the available buttons reads, according to local media.
The library signs go on to explain that “misgendering” someone “can be hurtful” and lead to emotional distress as that person contemplates their ultimate exclusion from modern society, or struggle with “invalidation” of their life choices.
KU’s “front line” librarians came up with the idea, and have been wearing the buttons with pride. They say the markers have been so popular that the library has already had to reorder buttons, and that students routinely ask for them.