Canvas is bringing in the year with a new feature for students — being able to add gender pronouns to a personal profile.

The change was made in mid-January, just in time for the spring semester. This addition was announced through the Canvas Documentation Team, which posted a Canvas guide document on Jan. 18 called, “How do I select personal pronouns in my user account as an observer?”

MU’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity tweeted confirmation of the Canvas feature to the MU student body when classes began on Tuesday.

The guide gives a simple rundown on how to change the pronouns linked to an individual profile. There are five pronoun options.

She/her pronouns are traditionally used by someone who identifies as female. He/him pronouns are traditionally used by someone who identifies as male. Either set could also be used by individuals who are nonbinary, gendernonconforming or gender fluid.

They/them, ze/hir and ey/em could refer to an individual of any gender. Because these pronouns are considered gender neutral, however, they are most commonly used by, but are not exclusive to, people who are nonbinary and gendernonconforming, as shown by a chart on the LGBTQ Resource Center’s website.

In everyday conversation, pronouns are used when someone wants to refer to someone else without using their name. For example, “She bought a house yesterday,” or, “He is a doctor.”

As the LGBTQ Resource Center notes, there are many pronouns outside the genderbinary of male and female for those who, for example, are nonbinary, gendernonconforming or gender fluid. This new Canvas feature expands on the pronouns an individual can use in the same context as “he” and “she.” For example, “They bought a house yesterday,” or, “Ze is a doctor.”

“We took advantage of the new feature, as it is another action we can take to assist with our inclusion and diversity efforts on campus,” MU spokesperson Christian Basi said.

Canvas’ new pronoun feature is not the first policy MU has adopted to create a more gender-inclusive campus.

MU’s Office of the Registrar states that university policy allows any student to identify within the university community by a first and/or middle name that is not reflected on legal documents. The LGBTQ Resource Center notes on its website that this includes, but is not limited to, class rosters, residence hall rosters, university identification cards and transcripts.

The Missouri Students Association has a map available online that shows the 20 gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

For more information on gender pronouns, visit the LGBTQ Resource Center’s website.

To learn how to select a pronoun on Canvas, visit the guide made by the Canvas Documentation Team.

  • Education reporter, Spring 2020 Studying Photojournalism Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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