Lawson: Pronouns should be gender-neutral on college campuses

Gender neutral pronouns are a huge part of feeling accepted in society, but are often over looked because there are so many. Words like zie, zis and, zieself are all examples of gender neutral pronouns.

Madison Ward/Iowa State Daily

Gender neutral pronouns are a huge part of feeling accepted in society, but are often over looked because there are so many. Words like “zie”, “zis” and, “zieself” are all examples of gender neutral pronouns.

Angelica Lawson

He, She, Ze.

How you choose to be addressed is as important as knowing which bathroom to use. Gender pronouns are assumed, but not necessarily representative of what gender you identify with. How can someone who is meeting you for the first time know that you look one way on the outside but identify as something else on every other level?

The proposed gender-neutral pronouns eliminate this gender bias and allow people to make the first impression they want without an awkward situation.

One university has been making headlines recently for its seemingly progressive policies. The Pride Center at the University of Tennessee made a post on its website encouraging staff to ask students what their preferred pronoun is.

This post resulted in an uproar at the university because the Pride Center made this suggestion without first clearing it with university officials and the university’s board of trustees.

One of the most notable remarks was that the post seemed like a mandatory policy for students and professors, but it was a simple suggestion. The goal of the proposal was to make the university more inclusive, addressing all of its students without the limitations of traditional gender roles and identifications.

The post was removed from the website because of all the confusion it created. 

The inclusion of every member of the student body should not have to be so chaotic. The proposal of the Pride Center at Tennessee was defeated by small-minded people with big voices.

It’s the right of every student to belong at their school. They should not have to feel left out because they identify as anything other than male or female. Gender pronouns create a culture of inclusions.

Target has taken on this battle recently with the removal of its gender-specific signage and the separation of its gender-specific merchandise.

It’s popular for people to choose a gender-neutral name for their unborn child. The removal of gender bias is running rampant on society, and I love it.

While it’s not always negative, it’s evident what society thinks is OK for girls and boys to do, wear or play.

Creating an inclusive policy breaks down these barriers. Taking the step in college to remove gender pronouns is one way students can feel more accepted by their peers, professors and university staff.

College is the time when you learn how to enter society as a productive adult, and enforcing the idea of inclusion at this age will only create more accepting adults in the future.

Larger corporations are also taking steps to include everyone. The Oxford English Dictionary just added ‘Mx’ to its word bank. Mx is a gender-neutral surname to take the place of Mr., Miss or Mrs.

Sweden just added “hen” to its official language. In Sweden, han is the word for she, and hon is the word for he. Hen does not reveal someone’s gender.

The removal of gender identification is leaving its mark across several cultures.

These gender-neutral terms in no way take away from someone’s choice to be indented as “she” or “he.” It’s a way to give everyone a place in society. 

But the suggested policy of removing gender pronouns at Tennessee, and asking students what they prefer to be called, failed. One way other universities can enact this policy without doing away with the long-standing traditional pronouns is to create a student profile.

Students can create a profile and then identify how they preferred to addressed in person and in all official documents. It’s another step added to the registration process but it can save a lot of class time because it wouldn’t need to be addressed during attendance those first few weeks of class.

It’s simple but it could mean a lot to students who had previously been ignored at school and in society.