University Urges Using 'Gender Neutral' Pronouns
The University of Tennessee has asked students and faculty to begin using so-called gender neutral pronouns in the belief it will create a more "inclusive" campus.
"Ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr" are gender-neutral singular versions of pronouns.
The university's Office for Diversity and Inclusion claims the language "alleviates a heavy burden for people expressing different genders or identities," according to TV Station WATE.
"We should not assume someone's gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems," Donna Braquet, director of the University of Tennessee's Pride Center, told WATE.
"Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth," she said.
University instructors have been urged when calling the attendance roll to ask students to provide their name and gender neutral pronoun. But the university says there is no mandate or official policy to use the language.