A new feature in Zoom allows University of Oregon students, staff and faculty members to easily share their pronouns on the videoconferencing platform.
"This tool gives us one more way to honor people's identities," said Ruth Huang, campus and community engagement program associate in the UO Division of Equity and Inclusion. "It gives people that choice about sharing how they want to be addressed, and it’s important that we use the right pronouns."
Instructions for adding and managing pronouns in Zoom are available in the UO Service Portal. To use the new feature in the Zoom application for computers and mobile devices, the app must be updated to version 5.7.0 or higher.
"Pronouns are how people refer to one another when not using their name," said Alex Schmider, associate director for transgender representation at GLAAD, as quoted in Zoom's June 22 announcement of the new feature. "Using someone’s correct pronouns is akin to pronouncing their name correctly. This small but significant sign of respect goes a long way in creating an environment where everyone can show up, be seen, and addressed respectfully as who they are."
Previously, no specific option existed in Zoom for managing the display of pronouns. Meeting attendees could manually add pronouns to their display name during a meeting but the change wouldn't necessarily persist to the next meeting. UO community members could also add pronouns to the last name field in their profile but without options for controlling when the pronouns would display.
Now everyone at the UO has the option to add pronouns to their Zoom profile and easily manage whether pronouns display during meetings. Pronouns will not display for Zoom webinar attendees.
The Division of Student Life provides guidance about using pronouns on its website. The Office of Human Resources website includes additional information about gender identity, expression and transition in the workplace.
Most people can update the Zoom application themselves, if necessary. Staff and faculty members who have earlier versions of Zoom and whose computers are managed by IT staff can contact their IT staff about the update timeline for their computers.
—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications