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Oxford University students told to use gender neutral pronouns like ‘ze’

Meka Beresford December 11, 2016
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Students at Oxford university have been instructed to make the move to gender neutral pronouns such as ‘ze’ to reduce discrimination.

A leaflet which was distributed by the student union office at the university said that they hoped to prevent transgender students being offended by the use of incorrect pronouns.

The Sunday Times reported the use will be implemented in lectures, seminars and hopefully outside of university.

Peter Thatchell, an LGBT activist, said: “It is a positive thing to not always emphasise gender divisions and barriers.

“It is good to have gender-neutral pronouns for those who want them but it shouldn’t be compulsory.

“This issue isn’t about being politically correct or censoring anyone. It’s about acknowledging the fact of changing gender identities and respecting people’s right to not define themselves as male or female.

“Giving people the “ze” option is a thoughtful, considerate move.”

It isn’t the first time a university has enforced a rule on pronouns.

The University of Tennessee is encouraging tutors to ask students which pronouns they want to be referred to using.

Gender neutral pronouns, such as “xe” and “ze” are being encouraged at Tennessee, and tutors are encouraged not to assume that gender-binary pronouns, such as “he” and “she” are correct.

PinkNews spoke to users who used the pronoun Mx after Oxford Dictionary included it.

They said: “It’s important as the courtesy title is a shorthand for an individual’s gender. A Mr is typically a man and a Mrs is typically a woman.

“Those are the kind of rules on which society – rightly or wrongly – functions. I don’t consider myself a man or a woman, so the existing cultural shorthand doesn’t fit me.

“While I am me, irrespective of who approves, and I am no more or less authentic a person for having or lacking wider approval, it is nevertheless a great boon to my own sense of worth and perceived validity to have those things recognised by society at large.

“My mind and society both are healthier places with Mx, than without it.”

Related topics: gender neutral, Oxford, oxford university, pronouns, Transgender, ze

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