For us to be true to who we are, we must embrace all members of the University community without exception. With this in mind, the University affirms its continued support for the LGBTQ+ community.
By Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M.Executive Vice President for Mission
For Christians throughout the world Holy Week is about to begin. It is a time to reflect on Jesus’ life of rejection and acceptance; suffering and blessing; death and rising. He gave his life for us to experience and wholeheartedly share God’s love and mercy. For us to be true to who we are, we must embrace all members of the University community without exception. With this in mind, the University affirms its continued support for the LGBTQ+ community.
One of the ways we wish to publicly show our support is through the signing of a statement made by a group of Catholic Bishops affirming the LGBTQ+ community. The statement declares that “All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBTQ+ youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied, and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.” It tells LGBTQ+ community members “we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you. Know that God created you, God loves you, and God is on your side.” St. John’s University will add its name to the list of the statement signers.
God’s gift to us is love, a love of acceptance, blessing and rising to new life. It is a love that readily supports the LGBTQ+ community and leads to human fulfillment. In his encyclical, Fratelli Tuti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on love and reminds us that “all of us, as believers, need to recognize that love takes first place: love must never be put at risk, and the greatest danger lies in failing to love.” Our Vincentian tradition also calls us to love and raise up the God-given dignity of all. We will continue to follow the spirit of our tradition in all that we do.
For LGBTQ+ community members at St. John’s and beyond, we respect you, we love you, and we are with you.
St. John’s University recognizes that some students may prefer to identify themselves by a First Name and/or Middle Name other than their Legal Name. For this reason, the University will enable students to use a Preferred Name where possible in the course of University business and education.
For more information and the Preferred Name Change Request form, please visit Office of the Registrar and scroll down to the "Preferred Name Policy" section.
The Office of Residence Life offers students the opportunity to live in gender-affirming housing on campus. Residence Life also provides spaces with private bathrooms for students who indicate a need or preference for more privacy, including transgender and/or non-binary students. However, we acknowledge that there are a limited number of these spaces since the vast majority of our housing is suite-style, with shared bathrooms. A few notes:
For more information, please contact the Office of Residence Life. If you have specific concerns or want to talk through housing options that you may not see online or in the housing application, please contact Dr. Jason Bartlett, Associate Director of Residence Life.
What is a personal gender pronoun (PGP)?
Personal gender pronouns refer specifically to people that are being talked about (he/him/his; she/her/hers; they/them/their; xir/xie; etc.). We have moved away from the language of “preferred pronouns” because gender identity is not a preference but a reality. Using “preferred” can imply that using the correct pronouns for someone is optional.
What kind of pronouns can be used?
There are an infinite number of pronouns as new ones emerge in our language, so it’s best to ask people what pronouns they use. Some people prefer to not use pronouns, and would like their names to be used instead.
Why is it important to respect pronouns as faculty?
We can’t always tell someone’s gender identity or their pronouns by outward appearances. By respecting students’ and colleagues’ pronouns, we set an example in our university community. When someone is referred to by the wrong pronoun, it can make the person feel disrespected and alienated. Honoring people’s pronouns is a simple way to show that we want to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.
How should I ask what someone’s pronoun is?
It’s best not to put students, colleagues, or staff on the spot, but rather to give an opportunity for everyone to provide pronouns if they would like. Two ways to do this are to have students fill out index cards with their names, contact information, and pronouns; or to include pronouns as an optional part of group introductions (e.g. “tell us your name, where you’re from, and, if you would like, what pronouns you use”). You can also let students know that they can tell you individually, which some students may feel more comfortable doing. Outside of the classroom context, for staff, other faculty, or students, we could ask, “what pronouns do you use?” or “what should I call you?” or introduce yourself first and use your name and pronouns.
What if I make a mistake?
That’s okay! If you use the wrong pronoun, thank the person for reminding you, correct it, and then move on. Avoid continually talking about how bad you feel for making the mistake, which can put the person on the spot. If you forget someone’s pronoun, follow the same protocol: correct it and move on. If other students or faculty are using the wrong pronoun for a person, try to correct it by saying something like “Actually, Alex uses ‘she.’” If students or faculty continue to use the wrong pronoun, do not ignore it. It might help to ask the person who has been misidentified if they would like you to take the other person aside and remind them of the proper pronoun. Steps like this let the person know you are an ally.
How else can I be proactive around this topic?
You can include your pronouns in your email signature or add them to your class syllabus, and substitute inclusive language such as “everybody,” “folks,” or “this person” for gender binary language like “ladies and gentleman,” “boys and girls,” “he or she,” etc.
Adapted from diversity.caltech.edu/documents/2972/preferred_gender_pronoun_guide_4twaPpX.pdf
For information on all gender and ADA restrooms throughout campus, please visit the All Gender and ADA Restroom Map. Note that you can find specific information on each restroom’s location by clicking on the map’s person icons.
Please note that it is a work in progress. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Jackie Lochrie at [email protected] or Matthew Pucciarelli at [email protected], Spectrum’s Advisors.