Yet again, I can’t believe it’s not The Onion (#ICBINTO). This Newspeak comes courtesy of the University of Tennessee’s “Office of Diversity and Inclusion” (yes this is actual a real office).
Inclusive Practice: Pronoun UsageAugust 26, 2015 Inclusive Practice Donna Braquet, gender expression, gender identity, gender-neutral, inclusion, Inclusive Practice, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA, Pride Center, pronouns
By Donna Braquet, Director of the Pride Center
With the new semester beginning and an influx of new students on campus, it is important to participate in making our campus welcoming and inclusive for all. One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.
We should not assume someone’s gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems. Transgender people and people who do not identity 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.
In the first weeks of classes, instead of calling roll, ask everyone to provide their name and pronouns. This ensures you are not singling out transgender or non-binary students. The name a student uses may not be the one on the official roster, and the roster name may not be the same gender as the one the student now uses.
This practice works outside of the classroom as well. You can start meetings with requesting introductions that include names and pronouns, introduce yourself with your name and chosen pronouns, or when providing nametags, ask attendees to write in their name and pronouns.
We are familiar with the singular pronouns she, her, hers and he, him, his, but those are not the only singular pronouns. In fact, there are dozens of gender-neutral pronouns.
A few of the most common singular gender-neutral pronouns are they, them, their (used as singular), ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.
These may sound a little funny at first, but only because they are new. The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.
How do you know?
How do you know what pronoun someone uses? If you cannot use the methods mentioned above, you can always politely ask. “Oh, nice to meet you, [insert name]. What pronouns should I use?” is a perfectly fine question to ask.
The more we make sharing of pronouns a universal practice, the more inclusive we will be as a campus. When our organizational culture shifts to where asking for chosen names and pronouns is the standard practice, it alleviates a heavy burden for persons already marginalized by their gender expression or identity.
To learn more about gender identity, gender-neutral pronouns, or transgender topics, consider signing up for a Safe Zone workshop at safezone.utk.edu.
Out of morbid curiosity does anyone even know how these are supposed to work? If they’re “gender neutral” why do they need three different sets of them? And then there are these!
Am I the only one here that thinks the real insult would be someone asking “What pronouns should I use?” If someone asked me that question I think I would knock some of their teeth out.
If anyone is wondering why universities are so god damned expensive these days, perhaps it has something to do with the thousands of completely mindless morons on university payrolls around the country who are paid to invent nonsense like this.