Identity Terminology

As individuals we hold multiple identities; as such, the University of Iowa seeks to make our admissions, MyUI and other online sytems more inclusive to people with diverse gender identities. Below you will find definitions of the various identity terms you have the option to select on the Admissions Application and in MyUI.

Preferred Name

Your preferred name is the name you would like to have appear on class lists. Your preferred name will be available to your advisor in the University Student Record System (MAUI), and will appear on instructor class lists in MAUI and ICON along with your pronouns. This name is different than your 'official' student name. View the Preferred First Name Policy here

To update your preferred name and pronouns of reference:

  1. Log in to MyUI
  2. Navigate to 'Student Information' which appears in the navigation bar near the top of the screen
  3. Under 'Student Life Management' select 'Preferred Name and Pronouns'
  4. On this page you will be able to update your 'Preferred Name' and 'Pronouns' if you so choose
Name Types

Official Student Records Name
Official student record name is used by the Registrar's Office on official documents. It will appear on your transcript, diploma, and any official verification letters. For information on updating this name, please contact the Office of the Registrar. 

Standard Name
This name type is used in most communications on campus. If you have financial aid, it will match the name you used when applying for financial aid. It is also the name that will appear on your University Bill. For information on updating this name, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Sex

Physical attributes that typically mark bodies as female, intersex, or male through socially constructed distinctions on the chromosomal, hormonal, genitals, and/or reproductive organ levels. 

Female - is a socially constructed term that refers to a sex category that differentiates bodies as being marked by certain physical characteristics. These distinctions may be made based on genetics, hormones, secondary characteristics, reproductive capabilities, and/or sexual organs.

Intersex - a general term used for atypical combinations of physical features in which a person’s genitalia, secondary characteristics, chromosomes, and/or primary naturally produced hormones do not function or appear the way in which people would assume based upon a binary sex assignment system. 

Male - is a socially constructed term that refers to a sex category that differentiates bodies as being marked by certain physical characteristics. These distinctions may be made based on genetics, hormones, secondary characteristics, reproductive capabilities, and/or sexual organs. 

Gender

Gender or gender identity is based on a group of emotional, behavioral, and psychological characteristics that typically classify an individual as “woman” or “man” or “androgynous” or “transgender.” Gender can be understood to have several components including gender identity, gender expression, and gender attributions.

Agender – an identity under the nonbinary and transgender umbrella terms. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity. May also include being genderless, lacking gender and/or being gender neutral.  

Cisgender – a value-neutral term to describe people who identify/agree with the gender they were assigned at birth, often shortened to cis. A cis woman is a person who is assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman. A cis man is a person who is assigned male at birth and identifies as a man. 

Man – a gender identity that largely aligns with “masculine” traits and characteristics.  

Non-binary – an inclusive category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine – identities that are outside of the gender binary. 

Transgender – a value-neutral term to describe people who do not identify/agree solely with the gender they were assigned at birth (sometimes referred to as an umbrella category under which a broad spectrum of gender identities exist). Often abbreviated as trans or trans*.

Woman – a gender identity that largely aligns with “feminine” traits and characteristics.  

Another gender not listed above – please select this option if your gender is not listed above.

Pronouns of Reference

Pronouns are often used to refer to a person’s gender identity. Several systems of pronouns have been created to refer to others without assigning them into the gender binary system. Pronouns of reference are the set of pronouns that an individual would like others to use when talking to or about that individual. For more information about pronouns, visit the Ally Education section of this webpage. 

To learn more about the importance of understanding and using correct pronouns of reference for faculty, staff, students and community members at the University of Iowa please watch our "Pronouns at UI Video".

He, him, his – pronouns typically used to refer to another person who  identifies as masculine.  

She, her, hers – pronouns typically used to refer to another person who identifies as feminine.  

They, them, theirs – gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns which do not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.

Ze, hir, hirs - gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns created by transgender and non-binary communities which do not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.  

Ze, zir, zirs - gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns created by transgender and non-binary communities which do not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.  

Another set of pronouns not listed above - please select this option if your pronouns are not listed above.

References: The University of Iowa LGBTQ Safe Zone Project Curriculum.