LONDON – The Oxford University is encouraging students to use the gender-neutral pronoun ‘ze’ instead of ‘she and ‘he’.
The move to use the gender neutral pronoun was outlined in a students’ union leaflet, which stated that the motive behind the move was to reduce the risk of transgender students being offended. Students hope that the use of ‘ze’ will continue into university lectures and seminars, reported The Sunday Times.
According to Oxford University’s behavior code, using the wrong pronoun to define a transgender person is an offence. Peter Tatchell, an LGBT rights campaigner, 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.”
Cambridge University has indicated that they also wanted to move in a similar direction.
The move was opposed by Canadian professor Jordan Peterson, who discussed his refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns in a YouTube video.
He said, “UK universities should resist this. Whole disciplines have become irretrievable from these doctrines.”
Earlier, a guidebook targeting teachers, parents and pupils to be sent to schools around Britain had advised against using language that suggests there are only two genders. It condemns using terms such as ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ as well as ‘ladies’ and ‘gents’ in order to avoid potentially offending transgender students. The guidebook was severely criticized by politicians and leading religious figures who labelled the advice to stop saying boys and girls ‘damaging’.