University Encouraging Students to Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns Like ‘Ze’ and ‘Zirs’

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is encouraging students to use gender-neutral pronouns to help students feel more welcome as classes begin this month.

The pronouns include ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, and xyr.

“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,” wrote Donna Braquet in a posting on the university’s website. “One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.”

The goal is to create a more inclusive campus, the university says. The pronouns will help people feel more welcome and comfortable at the school.

“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, the 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.”

On the university’s website, Braquet writes:

“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.”

Karen Ann Simsen, the University of Tennessee’s Media and Internal Relations Director, told WATE there is no mandate or official policy to use the pronouns.

“The information provided in the newsletter was offered as a resource for our campus community on inclusive practices,” said Simsen.


  • Djamndu

    Why not just make everybody wear a clearly visible identification tag? U can call yourself whatever you like and that’s how you will be addressed. No confusion or political incorrect possibility there. Of course some individuals would have to be a smart a** and use a profane or inappropriate name. But then if there are any guidelines somebody will cry they are treated unfairly. This is PC to the extreme. Ridiculous!!!

  • Jennifer

    It makes me think of that woman who got “outed” by her parents, in which she’s white, but ran around calling herself black. To me, if it never came up, and if I saw her on the street, I would’ve thought she was black. She looked it to me. Cuz seriously, does it matter whether you’re 100%, 75%, 10%, or a potential 0.001% chance of having a black ancestor? Now the next thing is the statistics and applications thereof. You can’t apply for Negro College Funds, then? Will white people be able to apply for them now? Ze wants to be multicolorful, so ze applied for it, even though zir parents think ze won’t qualify. Switch gender, switch race, switch color. It’s a free national. Personally, I’ll call them like I SEE them. I see someone with breasts and long hair, I’m apt to call them a girl/she/her. They use the stall in the restroom in the store, and I won’t know that “down there” has anything different. p.s. I’m still floored by that red-headed white girl, who has a fraternal twin who is black, and has parents who are black. I’m glad they mentioned in the news article, that they did a dna test, and confirmed the child was theirs. She just got all the recessive genes, so she looks different. Pretty sure that she’d be able to apply to that college fund. *wink* Oh, and I think I married a dog. (Just figured I’d throw that out for a laugh. My dog is laying in my bed staring at me! LOL!)

  • Adam

    This is political correctness carried to the point of absurdity. The rest of the world is laughing their a**es off at us.

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