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Office of the Registrar

Gender Designation & Personal Pronoun Self-identification Changes Summary and FAQ

This document is a resource for affiliates making or updating self-identification selections in the University's information systems.

Identity Options Offered Explanation
Legal Sex
  • Male
  • Female
  • I elect not to self-identify at this time
For DU's required reporting, and to avoid even appearance of identity fraud, this must match current government designation.
 *Gender Designation
  • Man
  • Woman
  • Non-binary
  • I elect not to self-identify at this time
  • Option not listed

Consistent, lived identity. Unlike legal sex or anatomical descriptors, this is the level at which most people interact with others. 

 *Personal Pronouns
  • he/him/his
  • she/her/hers
  • they/them/theirs
  • I elect not to self-identify at this time
  • Option not listed
Term used as stand-in for name in conversation and correspondence.
 Prefix/Honorific  (e.g., Mr/Mrs/Ms/Mx, Dr, Hon, Prof, Rev) Optional title or honorific used in formal greeting or correspondence. Some are traditionally based on gender, age, and/or marital status.1

*Expanded, "new" field

What is changing?
DU is adding fields to its information systems, allowing affiliates the option to self-identify by gender identity and pronouns. This is in addition to existing demographic information already requested of all affiliates.

Why are we asking?
Largely for our legal reporting requirements, the University of Denver already asks affiliates to self-identify by current legal sex (often coded as "gender"), race/ethnicity, veteran status, and disability.

We are expanding optional self-identification categories related to gender identity in order to allow us to understand and acknowledge our constituents more accurately and inclusively.

How will this information be used?
Your legal name and sex will remain the University's default data unless you actively make other selections, adding additional information to your record (e.g. chosen/professional name, gender designation, etc.).

Most immediately, the University will use aggregate information to understand campus demographics better, and to improve our acknowledgement of and services to our diversity of communities. This can include more robust support resources, enhanced training for service providers, more accurate reports, and potential advocacy to external reporting agencies for improving their systems.

If an affiliate has added a chosen/professional name, it is already included in many university systems, and can be used on Pioneer ID cards. (www.du.edu/registrar/records/preferredname.html)

With this additional information, we are working to better connect various other campus software systems so that your best name, pronouns and salutations are available from the central database, and are used consistently, accurately and respectfully by all affiliates. Ideally, every University interaction would be informed by the appropriate info: employees having over the phone and in-person conversations, and auto-generated message and online records would all use your correct names and pronouns. However, please note that we cannot yet guarantee that every communication (in person, online, in writing) will use these selections. This is a work in progress.

Who will have access to this information?
With the exception of student "directory information" (see below and www.du.edu/registrar/privacy), access to all affiliate information is restricted by law and policy to University officials, and to those whom students have authorized access.

Like most other personal information, an affiliate's legal sex and gender designation are not considered directory information and are not released, accessed or used without permission. However, students who sign FERPA releases for their parents/guardians/others should understand that this identifier information can be requested/disclosed.

As part of a student's name, prefix/honorific, titles are considered directory information and will be used publicly. 

All affiliates should consider that providing this information to DU does make it available within restrictions above, and so should provide thoughtfully and intentionally. 

Where I can check and/or update my current information?

  • Prospective students and employees are asked some basic demographics when applying.
  • Affiliates can update personal information through PioneerWeb.

The categories offered don't match how I identify.
We recognize that even these expanded options do not represent all the categories that DU affiliates use to describe themselves. (For example, while not DU-specific, a 2010 study of US campuses received more than three thousand distinct gender identity labels. 2 )

We are using the additional fields and these expanded options to gauge constituent interest and institutional utility. We plan to follow up with various campus constituencies to assess how we might improve descriptors, and potentially offer more and better options in the future.

What if I do not make a selection in the expansion fields?
The expanded fields are optional, but encouraged; and a "prefer not to respond" option is available. Unless you indicate something different, your legal name and sex will remain the default in all systems; other fields will note "not available" or be blank.

Why don't you ask other identities?
Based in part on participation and usage success of these fields, we are considering whether and how to expand, secure, and use additional categories to describe and serve our communities better. Stay tuned for opportunities to help shape those efforts.

I have additional questions.
Please contact your respective data manager:


1.https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/honorific

2 . Rankin, S, Blumenfeld, WJ, Weber, GN, & Frazer SJ (2010). State of Higher Education for LGBT People: Campus Pride 2010 National College Climate Survey. Charlotte: Campus Pride. https://issuu.com/campuspride/docs/campus_pride_2010_lgbt_report_summary/12

rev 3-2019