by Allison Marie Turner
Welcome to Queer It Yourself, a series on using arts-and-crafts to make your spaces more safe, fun and QUEER! Want a fun craft you can do to create more inclusive spaces on your campus? Today, Campus Pride teaches you how to create pronoun buttons, an easy addition to any club meeting, conference or event that can make your attendees more comfortable, and teach people the importance of learning and respecting pronouns!
Step One: Collect Your Materials
Before you can begin making pronoun buttons, you’ll need to own the necessary materials. Here is one website that sells button makers, but feel free to explore other options depending on your needs or budget!
Take note of what materials are included in your purchase. Remember, the button maker is important, but you will also need materials to make the buttons, such as metal shells, metal pin backs, and round plastic mylar sheets. It is also important to verify that you are buying the correct size for your button maker. Button sizes are often described in inches by taking the diameter of the button. (Our example photos use 2.5 inch buttons.)
Step Two: Create Your Template and Make Your Buttons
Use your design skills to create what will go on the buttons! You can create your templates using online examples, or create your own! You can design them on your computer and print them out, or hand-draw them. If you are hand drawing them, remember that most button makers require covering your design with a plastic mylar sheet, so remember not to add any 3-D elements (rhinestones, puffy stickers, etc.) until after the buttons are made!
Remember to include many different pronouns. Many commonly used ones are featured here. Also, make sure to include an ‘ask me my pronouns’ or similar option for folks who might use pronouns you do not include, or use different pronouns during different situations.
Make sure you aren’t decorating the buttons in a way that stereotypes. “He/Him/His” pronouns don’t have to be blue or feature “masculine” images, “She/Her/Hers” pronouns don’t have to be pink or feature “feminine” images.
Now that you’ve made your pronoun buttons, it’s time to get people to wear them! Try handing them out at club meetings, conferences, events, parties, in class or wherever people are gathering! You can encourage people to pin their buttons to their jackets or bookbags so people can see them at any point!
Encourage everyone to wear them! Assuming that cisgender folks don’t need to wear pronoun buttons contributes to transphobia by assuming that people can “look like” they use a certain pronoun. Also, always offer people their choice of pronoun – don’t assume that you know what a person’s pronoun is. Even if you’ve been told a person’s pronouns in the past, many people change their pronouns; they might use different pronouns during different situations, or want to explore using pronouns that they never have before!
Allison Marie Turner is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and mass communication and women’s and gender studies. She is a 2015 Summer Fellow for Campus Pride. Follow her on Twitter@amturner1993.