No More Her, She, Her, Him — Colleges Use Gender Neutral Pronouns
Society is always changing. Governments change, people change, and even language changes. Phrases that were popular 100 years ago are no longer used. Phrases we use today won't be used in the future. It is the ebb and flow of society.
Changes in society usually begin with the younger generations. They disagree with the way their parents and grandparents did things and begin a change. A language change has begun in colleges and you may not be aware of the change.
Colleges across the country have adopted the use of gender neutral pronouns. They are doing away with words such as he, she, him, her, himself, and herself. According to the Boston Globe, Harvard University "...is allowing students to choose their preferred gender pronoun from a list including such gender-neutral identifiers as 'ze, hir, and hirs,'" Students can make this choice when filling out paperwork during registration.
A Georgia university, Kennesaw State University's, LGBTQ organization handed out pamphlets entitled: Pronouns Matter. A Guide To Using Gender Neutral Pronouns. The pamphlet mapped out some of the pronouns that can be used in place of the traditional he, she, him, her, herself, or himself.
According to the pamphlet, "Some people don't feel like traditional pronouns (she/her, he/him) fit their gender identities. Transgender, genderqueer, and other gender-variant people may choose different pronouns for themselves..." The pamphlet encourages you to ask people which pronoun they would like you to use. The pamphlet also states, "Remember that people may change their pronouns without changing their name, appearance, or gender identity."
Some of the new pronouns include, ne, ve, ey, ze/hir, ze/zir, and xe. They also encourage you to quickly apologize if you use the wrong pronoun. They say, "It can be tough to remember pronouns at first. The best solution is to practice!"
According to CBS, "At Harvard, 4,000 students have submitted pronouns so far, with slightly more than 1 percent choosing something other than 'he' or 'she'..."
The list of pronouns is an infinite one:
University of Michigan had made the change to gender neutral pronouns back in 2016, "Students can designate pronouns in Wolverine Access through the new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section. This page can be used to enter, update or delete pronoun information."
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee released their own list of gender neutral pronouns:
U.S. universities are not the only ones to make a shift towards a gender neutral language, Canada has passed new gender neutral directives and changed their national anthem to remove the word "sons" in recent months.