University of Tennessee to students: Diversity means using new made-up pronouns for trans students

Via the Examiner, I’d do what they say. In our alarming new culture of rage against microaggressions, doing otherwise might get you shot.

Rather than make brutish assumptions that someone who looks like a boy is a boy and someone who looks like a girl is a girl, the campus diversity office recommends starting the semester by asking everyone to provide their names “and pronouns.” Or better yet, why not just use new pronouns that are gender-neutral? It’ll spare you an ephemeral awkward moment when you happen to encounter someone from the tiny fraction of the tiny fraction of the population that not only identifies as trans but doesn’t want to be referred to by the pronoun of the gender they physically appear to be.


Not to play this stupid game, but I’m curious: Why does “they/them/their” turn into “xe/xem/xyr” instead of the more logical “zey/zem/zeir”? Also, why isn’t “they/them/their” proper usage for someone who’s trans, whether singular or plural? I mean, purely in terms of how it scans, “xyr” is an abomination.

Also, I’m not sure I grasp the difference between “hir/hirs” and “zir/zirs.” Which one should you use for Caitlyn Jenner? One, I think, is for a man who identifies as a woman and the other for a woman who identifies as a man, but I’ll be damned if I know which terms applies to which. The whole point of this exercise, I thought, was not to make any judgments about gender based on appearance. Doesn’t the need to choose between “hir” and “zir” force you to do that?

Either way, with respect to Caitlyn, looks increasingly like ze’s going to prison.