If the University of Tennessee’s Pride Center has its way, pronouns such as “he” and “she” will be tossed out this coming semester, replaced with gender-neutral ones such as “ze” and “zir.”
In a post to the university’s website, Pride Center Director Donna Braquet encouraged instructors to ask students to provide their name and preferred pronoun at the beginning of the semester.
“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,” she said. “We should not assume someone’s gender by their appearance, or by what is listed on a roster or in student information system.”
Braquet advised UT professors and students to look beyond the traditional pronouns, such as she, her, hers and he, him and his, in favor of gender-neutral pronouns such as ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr…