STUCK IN NEUTRAL
The Times of London and The Huffington Post were among many news organizations that reported rumors Britain’s esteemed Oxford University ordered its students to use the gender-neutral pronoun “ze” rather than “he” or “she” when referring to fellow students. In a formal statement issued Monday, the university — founded in 1167 — hoped to clear up the matter.
“We would like to clearly state that we would never tell anyone to use ‘ze’ pronouns instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ if ‘he’ or ‘she’ is the pronoun someone wishes to use. That would be misgendering and would likely have the biggest impact on individuals (ie, some trans students) who may already be struggling to get people to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ for them. It would be totally counterproductive.
“We do however suggest the use of genderless pronouns like singular ‘they’ to refer to individuals whose pronouns haven’t been confirmed. This avoids assuming what pronouns a person uses based solely on how they present themselves. We also recommend that at events like campaign meetings, workshops and training sessions, people introduce themselves with their pronouns.”