University of Tennessee ditches gender pronouns - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

University of Tennessee ditches gender pronouns

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
KNOXVILLE, TN (WMC) -

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is ditching gendered pronouns.

According to the university, students and staff are being asked to ditch "he" and "she" to make the campus more gender-neutral.

Instead, the school's Office for Diversity and Inclusion wants everyone on campus to use all-inclusive words like "ze" to make it easier to include all genders.

This movement away from traditional gendered pronouns is becoming more common.

Within the last couple of years, Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center representative Leah Ford decided ze did not want to be labeled as she or he.

"Ze, zim, zirs, people just choose what feels most comfortable to them," said Ford. Ford felt most comfortable when people used gender neutral pronouns.

"When I am asked what my pronouns are it makes me feel a lot more comfortable," said Ford.

Many Memphians are talking about the university's decision.

"We have to analyze what is gender in the first place," said Forest Deacon, who agrees with the decision to go gender neutral.

Some feel that this is the best way to make all people, regardless of gender identification, feel included.

"To set that gender norm now, I hope it transcends through not just Tennessee, but America," said Taylor Smith.

Others said it's just a matter of respect.

"Even if you are not transgender, you can relate to wanting to be identified properly," said Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center representative Elokan Capecel.

UT did say on their website, "There is no mandate or official policy to use gender-neutral pronouns. We do not dictate speech. Most people use the pronouns he and she. However, some people don't."

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