We have previously discussed the move to expand the pronouns used at schools and allow students to chose a gender but also a pronoun. Indeed, at George Washington University where I teach, the school is asking faculty to list their preferred pronouns so I recently received an email from a colleague with “Pronouns: he, him, his” after his name. Over the weekend, stories appears in various sites that Oxford University has asked its faculty and students to stop using “he” or “she” entirely in favor of “ze.” It now appears that the story was based on a policy to encourage the use of correct pronouns and not any mandate.
This appears less of a “fake news” story as misreading of the policy. Oxford University’s behavior code makes using the wrong pronoun to define a transgender person an offense. It now requests that only the gender neutral pronoun be used.
In countering stories claiming a mandatory rule, the Union released this statement:
“We would also like to clearly state that we would never tell anyone to use ‘ze’ pronouns instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ if ‘he’ or ‘she’ is the pronoun someone wishes to use. That would be misgendering and would likely have the biggest impact on individuals who may already be struggling to get people to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ for them. It would be totally counterproductive.”
What do you think about the idea of a mandatory or voluntary program to shift to “ze”?