Them Campus

During a typical day in my life, someone is probably going to use the wrong pronouns for me. My pronouns are they/them/theirs, and a lot of people are not be used to using them for a single person. They might catch themselves and fix it right away, they might not know what my pronouns are or they might know and not recognize where they went wrong. Later in this hypothetical day, I might be going to a Her Campus meeting to brainstorm article ideas. You would think I’d be opposed to inserting myself into a place that appears to be about and for, just women, but I’m not.


I’ve been in several places where everyone involved are expected to be women. These are places where I feel off, or don’t quite fit in. One place that I felt the most uncomfortable was senior girls’ night in high school. All the girls were supposed to have a fun night dressing up and painting with their moms. My mom wanted to be a part of it too, since she cares about me of course and would like to go to an event with me. Everybody else wore a dress and looked very pretty and sent in baby pictures to be a part of a slideshow that showed them growing up.


In the weeks before the event, I ignored the issue of sending in a baby picture. I didn’t feel like I was meant to be part of the slideshow, and I didn’t want to draw attention to how I grew up into this non-feminine sort of not-girl. My mom was upset that I wasn’t in the slideshow, because it was meant to be a bonding experience.


I did go, and I painted (to be sneaky, I painted with only the colors of the nonbinary flag) and took pictures with my friends and their pretty dresses. I suppose I just felt unwelcome, like the nonbinary part of my identity wasn’t being addressed or accepted, as most events in high school were like.


Then I went to college, and surprise! People respect my identity and use my pronouns, or at least my close friends do. They asked me to be a part of Her Campus, and I’ve only felt welcome and accepted here. We’ve even made jokes about renaming the site “Their Campus” to be more inclusive. Personally, I am not advocating to change the name; it doesn’t bother me. What acceptance is really about is how you treat people, and if you are including them in the conversation.


If the conversation is about the name of the site that we all write for, they recognize that my pronouns are different and we can talk about it without making me feel uninvited. We can joke about grammatical mistakes, such as saying “Them Campus” instead of “Their Campus” (finally, the title of this article makes sense, you say).

I haven’t always felt comfortable in women-only spaces, but when people see who I am and treat me like I’m welcome there, like I’m normal, it’s possible to make me feel like I belong.


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