You might have noticed the colorful stickers that accented peoples’ clothing in Huntsman Hall yesterday.
In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, Out4Biz, Wharton’s LGBT MBA student club, invited students and faculty to wear stickers printed with various gender pronouns in an event called “Wear Your Pronouns.” The pronouns ranged from she/her/hers, to he/him/hers, to less-used terms such as they/them/their and ze/zir/zirs.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on Nov. 20 in order to memorialize those who were killed because of their status as transgender individuals. While the handing out of stickers is part of this observance, is is also an attempt at moving forward into a more inclusive world. The logic behind the stickers is that while it is important to remember tragedy, it is also important to try and improve things in the present time.
“We’re trying to make a more inclusive environment for those who are alive now,” MBA student and Out4Biz co-president Jennifer Redmond said. “[The stickers are] a simple idea, and I think it’s very prominent and an easy way to start conversations.”
The stickers were handed out throughout the day, and the club set up a table in the MBA cafe with the pronoun stickers, handouts that explained various aspects of gender and allyship and a poster that detailed the violence that had been committed against transgender individuals.
The idea for the stickers came out of an ally workshop at the LGBT Center that the co-presidents of Out4Biz attended a few weeks ago. The hope is that the stickers promote awareness of how gender impacts how people are seen and promote the idea that there is more than just the gender binary. Out4Biz members highlighted the importance of raising awareness in Wharton especially.
“As a Wharton student, these people are going to be in positions of power where they can set norms in the workplace,” MBA student Alessia Bhargava said.
Support for the idea was initially positive and continued to be positive throughout the day, with administration and students being receptive to the idea, and the stickers could be seen all over the building on students’ clothing. Students would also stop and chat at the Out4Biz table or pick up a flyer rather than just taking a sticker and moving on.
“We’ve had a lot of unsolicited support through Wharton and the various offices there,” Redmond said.
The idea is simple but easy to execute, which makes the gender pronoun sticker idea of interest to those not in Wharton as well. Jennifer Decker, a student at the Graduate School of Education, thought that these stickers would have applications in other settings as well.
“It’d be great to have these in different workshops that we have,” Decker said.
The ultimate goal was simply to raise awareness among the Wharton community in the forefront of Trans Day of Remembrance.
“I think even for people who are cis [equate their gender identity with their anatomical birth sex] having to wear gender pronouns will prick their consciousness a bit,” Redmond said. “Once you get used to [asking people their pronouns], it's just as natural as anything else.”
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