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KU library workers push inclusion wearing preferred gender pronoun buttons

University of Kansas library workers now are wearing preferred gender buttons as part of a diversity and inclusion campaign
University of Kansas library workers now are wearing preferred gender buttons as part of a diversity and inclusion campaign Lawrence Journal World

As part of a campaign promoting inclusion at the University of Kansas, school library workers are donning buttons announcing their preferred gender pronouns.

“My pronouns are: She Her Hers,” one button says. Another says, “My pronouns are: He Him His.” And for people who don’t identify themselves as male or female, a third button says, “My pronouns are: They Them Theirs.”

All are part of the KU Libraries’ “You Belong Here” marketing campaign, meant to attract undergraduates and make sure they all feel welcome.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported that a posted sign at the university’s libraries says: “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. Pronouns matter!”

The sign explains that “misgendering someone can have lasting consequences, and using the incorrect pronoun can be hurtful, disrespectful, and invalidate someone’s identity.”

Extra buttons are available at the library main counters for students who also want one.

Kevin Smith, KU dean of libraries, told the Journal-World the “You Belong Here” campaign aims to increase the visibility of KU Libraries’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, “a universal value of libraries.”

He said that unlike most other academic building or facilities at the university, the libraries are used by everyone, not just students or faculty.

“A commitment to support the voices of marginalized people is part and parcel to the libraries’ commitment to the values of the First Amendment,” he said.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

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