Chosen Names and Pronouns
Middlebury recognizes that some members of our community use names other than their legal names to identify themselves.
One way Middlebury seeks to promote comfort and safety among those who wish to do this is through a name procedure in BannerWeb, where students, faculty, and staff may now indicate their lived/chosen first name regardless of whether or not they have legally changed their name.
Lived/chosen names are names people choose for themselves that feel more reflective of their identity. Legal names are also known as dead names, because people should no longer be addressed as such.
Individuals are free to update their lived/chosen names in the BannerWeb system provided that it is not for the purpose of misrepresentation (using inappropriate names or using the process to avoid a legal obligation). Lived/chosen first names that differ from an individual’s legal name will be used solely for Middlebury’s internal systems. In addition, individuals will be able to indicate their gender pronouns (he, she, they, he/they, she/they, etc.) and name prefix (Mr., Ms., Mx., etc.).
How It Works
Students can enter a chosen first name and gender pronoun to be used in select places on campus. Legal names will always appear on all external reports and official documents and will only be changed when students pursue a legal name change with their home state and/or federal authorities. Chosen names, gender pronouns, and name prefixes will appear on class rosters and advisee lists for students who specify them. Students who wish to do this are encouraged to do so early in the semester so that the correct information appears on the final course roster.
How to Indicate Your Chosen Name and/or Pronoun
Log into BannerWeb, and click on “Display/Update Your Chosen First Name and Pronoun” in the Personal Information tab at the top left of the page. Follow the instructions on the “Chosen First Name and Pronoun” form. Please remember to hit “save” to ensure that your changes are saved. Entering a chosen first name via BannerWeb will automatically change which name appears in many internal systems, including the Online Directory and your email Display Name. For some applications, the chosen name will immediately display. For others, there is a 24-hour waiting period before changes will appear in the system. Should you choose to list a pronoun, it will only appear on class rosters and advisor lists.
Please note: The Online Directory and email Display Names are also available externally (off-campus). If you choose to indicate a chosen first name but wish to communicate via email using your legal name, we recommend that you create a non-Middlebury email account (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail).
Staff with an administrative need (e.g., Public Safety, Registrar’s Office, and Deans) will see both legal and chosen names and gender pronouns. Similar to GPAs and other sensitive information, these staff are trained on the implications of this access. Report any issues with this process to the Office of the VP for Student Affairs and Dean of the College at Middlebury College.
Places Where Chosen First Name is Used
- MiddCard or MIIS ID Card (upon request)
- Class and Grade Rosters
- Advisee Lists
- Library sign-out process
- Course Hub
- Online Directory
- Athletics team rosters
- Middlebury College Parton Center for Health and Wellness
Places Where Legal First Name is Used
- Student Accounts
- Student Financial Services
- Accounts Payable
- Tax forms
- Responses to enrollment inquiries such as verification
- Official Transcripts
- International Student and Scholar Services
Changing Your MiddCard
Twenty-four hours after submitting the chosen name form in BannerWeb, your chosen name will appear in the ID card system and you can request a new MiddCard. Please note that if you request a new ID card your old one will be deactivated. You can still retain the old card for use as a second ID for the sole purpose of events that require two forms of ID as appropriate.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Janae Due, assistant director of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middlebury has made every effort to display chosen names where feasible and has made a good faith effort to update the reports, documents and systems that are designated to use a chosen name and pronoun. In the event that your chosen name is not displaying correctly, please contact the Office of the VP for Student Affairs and Dean of the College.
Chosen Name FAQ
Q Do I have to enter a chosen first name?
No, entering a chosen first name is optional. Enter a name in the Chosen First Name field only if you commonly use a first name that is different from your legal first name.
Q What is a chosen first name?
A chosen first name is a name that someone wishes to go by other than their legal name. Sometimes, this is a person’s nickname or middle name.
Q Who does the chosen name procedure benefit?
- The chosen name procedure will benefit all students, staff, and faculty by promoting a more inclusive environment on campus.
- It enables any student, staff, or faculty to be addressed by the name that they actually use.
- The procedure will help with the safety and wellbeing of trans and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff, as they can be identified by the first name and pronoun they use.
Q What is the new chosen name procedure at Middlebury College?
- The chosen name procedure enables students, faculty and staff to use a chosen first name for certain purposes while studying or working at Middlebury.
- It allows the chosen first name to be used on one’s MiddCard, the Online Directory, and email.
- It is important to note that making a request to use a chosen first name at Middlebury does not change a person’s legal name on official records or records with government authorities.
Q When is the best time to change my chosen first name?
You can enter your chosen first name in BannerWeb at any time. It does take up to 24 hours for the changes to take affect in most of our systems.
Students should keep in mind that the earlier you enter your chosen first name at the start of a new academic term, the more likely you will experience the consistent use of your chosen first name by professors, advisors, coaches, deans, etc. For example, some professors may print off a class list after the Add/Drop period has passed, and use it for the remainder of the semester. Changes made to your chosen first name after Add/Drop period would not be picked up by the professor in this case.
Q Can I use any chosen first name that I wish?
Students, faculty, and staff are free to determine the chosen first name that they want to be known by in Middlebury’s information systems, as long as they act in good faith.
Inappropriate use of the chosen first name procedure including attempts to avoid a legal obligation via misrepresentation, or the use of inappropriate language, will result in the denial and/or reversal of the request.
Gender Pronouns FAQ
Q What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (he, she, them, and it).
Q What is a gender pronoun?
A gender pronoun is a pronoun an individual identifies with and what others use when talking to or about that individual. It is the pronoun that a person uses for themself (he/him, she/her, they/them, ze/hir, etc).
Never refer to a person as “it” or “he-she,” unless the individual requests that you do so. These are offensive slurs used against trans and gender non-conforming individuals.
Q Singular "they/them" pronouns?
Yes! Transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming (GNC) folx may use they/them pronouns for themselves (along with other pronouns). Singular they isn’t as uncommon as you think! Many people who use English already use singular they when talking about a single person with an unknown or unspecified gender. Now use the correct pronouns when someone specifies that they/them are the pronouns they use.
Fun fact: They, used as a singular pronoun, can now also be found in dictionaries. Merriam-Webster Dictionary chose they as the 2019 Word of the Year.
Q How do I ask someone what their gender pronoun is?
Try asking: “What is your pronoun?” or “Which pronouns do you use?” or “Can you remind me which pronouns you use for yourself?”
It can feel awkward at first, but asking for a pronoun can avoid hurtful assumptions. People will most likely appreciate your effort if you start off by asking what their pronoun is, and for those who aren’t familiar with pronouns, this is your chance to share what you know!
If you are asking as part of an introduction exercise and you want to quickly explain what a pronoun is, you can try something like this: “Tell us your name, where you come from, and your gender pronoun. That means the pronoun you like to be referred to with. For example, my pronouns are they, them, and theirs.”
When taking class attendance, one method is to call roll by last name, and have students respond with their chosen name and pronouns.
Q Can people's pronouns change?
Yes! Gender pronouns are may or may not change over time. This is why it’s important to consistently share your pronouns with people and ask for others’ pronouns, even if it is with people you know.
It’s also good practice to use gender-neutral greetings to not assume people’s gender or pronouns. Try “everyone,” folks/folx,” and “y’all” instead of “ladies,” “gentlemen,” and “guys.”
Q Why is it important to respect gender pronouns as students, faculty, staff, administrators and allies?
When someone is referred to by the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, or alienated. Asking and correctly using someone’s gender pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities. Making a commitment to this action sets an example for our community.
Q What if I make a mistake?
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. If you use the wrong pronoun, apologize, correct it, and then move on. If you realize your mistake after the fact, apologize in private and move on. Avoid continually talking about how bad you feel for making the mistake, because it could make the person feel like they need to console you and/or create uncomfortable or unsafe environments for them if others are not aware of differences between their chosen name and pronouns and their legal/dead name/pronouns. The best apology is correcting your mistake and not doing it again.
Using correct pronouns takes intentional practice and effort. Using correct pronouns can help someone feel included, respected, and validated. This is a great way to practice intentional advocacy to transgender and gender non-conforming folx.
Q What else can I do?
In your classes or elsewhere on campus you may hear students or colleagues using the wrong pronouns for someone. In most cases, it is appropriate to gently correct them without further embarrassing the individual for whom the incorrect pronoun was used.
- You can try saying something like “Actually, Frankie uses she/her pronouns,” and then move on.
- It might help to ask the individual who has been misidentified what, if anything, they would like you to do.
- You can say something like “I noticed that you were getting referred to with the wrong pronoun earlier, and I know that that can be really hurtful. Would you be okay with me speaking to them and reminding them about your personal pronoun? What can I do to make sure that this group is a safe space for you.” Follow up if necessary, but take your cues from the individual.
There are ways to advocate for pronoun usage and making the act of stating pronouns a routine one. Here are some ways:
- Introduce yourself with your pronouns with individuals and in large groups.
- “Hi, my name is John. I use he/him pronouns.”
- “My name is Natalie, and my pronouns are they/them.”
- You can add your pronouns to your email signature, and if applicable, to your business cards, name placards, name tags, and your syllabi.