Taking pride in pronouns

Columba College Rainbow Youth members (from left) Dana Wister (17), Allegra Huband-Watson (16),...
Columba College Rainbow Youth members (from left) Dana Wister (17), Allegra Huband-Watson (16), Caitlin Blacker (15) and Jasper Davis (16), are encouraging inclusiveness during Schools Pride Week. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Normalising difference is key for members of Columba College Rainbow Youth.

The group is busy preparing initiatives for Schools Pride Week, a nationwide campaign taking place from June 14 to 20.

One of the efforts of the group is to help educate people on the use of pronouns.

Jasper Davis said putting pronouns in email signatures and introducing people with their preferred pronouns avoided mis-gendering people by accident.

"I have an email signature set up that says Jasper Davis, (they/them), Columba College, so it says I use they/them pronouns, I don’t use she, he or him pronouns.

"It just makes it very clear to whoever I am emailing that this is what I go by."

If people who were cisgender (gender corresponds with birth sex) also put pronouns on email signatures it would make people who were not cisgender more comfortable.

Allegra Huband-Watson said group members were hoping to not only raise awareness but also help encourage inclusiveness of rainbow identities at the school.

The group was running a competition for creative writing and another for rainbow-themed art.

"Even though people can feel different it is absolutely fine and valid to feel different."

There were many ways people could self-identify, so it was good to learn about them and normalise understanding while still in school, Allegra said.

The whole school would also be invited to take a quiz about facts related to diverse identities.

The group had been running for four years at the school, with an average of about 30 pupils ranging from years 7 to 13 taking part in weekly meetings.

The aim was to ensure there was a safe space at the school where pupils could gather and be themselves, they said.

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