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Gender identity, sexual orientation and pronouns

New options for student expression

minute read.

Written by Staff on September 5, 2018

Starting this academic year, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus students can now choose to provide the university with their gender identity and sexual orientation information through their UCDAccess Student Portal. This wraps up an identity management project by the University of Colorado System that began last year when students were first able to choose a preferred name. The project continued in the spring when students were given the option to add the pronouns with which they identify to their university student record.

It’s totally optional for the student to provide the university with their selected pronouns, gender identity or sexual orientation information. The intention of the new options is to offer students a new way to express their identity.

Respect and inclusion

“I’m proud of our latest step toward enhancing diversity, respect, inclusion and compassion,” said Brenda J. Allen, PhD, vice chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion. “This feels like a turning point for us, a memorable moment. Identity matters to every member of our campus community, and the more we can do to respect that, the more supportive and inclusive we will become.”

Identity and orientation

With the newest options, students can self-select and indicate their sexual orientation, such as heterosexual, and gender identity, such as transgender. The information students submit will help CU Anschutz better understand and serve its population.

“We know that these dimensions of diversity matter and that we as a university are committed to supporting them. However, we need a sense of who’s among us in order to serve them well,” said Allen. “This measure of our student community will help provide that guidance.”

Pronoun selection

Students choosing to select pronouns to reflect their gender identity may choose from five options in their UCDAccess Student Portal — she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, ze/zir/zirs and xe/xer/xers. University faculty and staff are able to access a student’s selected pronoun information so they can be sure to identify the student correctly when they address them or refer to them, by using the right pronoun.


The Women & Gender Center identity management resource webpage can help answer your questions about the new gender identity and sexual orientation options as well as about choosing and using personally-selected pronouns. Additionally, training sessions are planned to assist all members of our campus community understand how it all works and why it’s important.

Topics: Education