Oxford University students allegedly told to use ‘ze’, not ‘he or she’ to stop transgender discrimination
‘It’s part of the drive to make the union intersectional’
Oxford students have allegedly been told to use gender-neutral pronouns like “ze” rather than “he” or “she”, in an attempt to reduce prejudice against transgender people.
Claims were allegedly made leaflet given out by the SU says that deliberately using the wrong pronoun for a transgender person is an offence under the university’s code of behaviour, and advises students against using terms which suggest there are only two genders.
Oxford SU have since denied that the leaflet existed, but say that these terms appeared in guidelines for trans students, not encouraging every student to use the term ‘ze’. They said: “As far as we’re aware, the information which has been published is incorrect.”
The move has been criticised heavily on Twitter, with users claiming it’s “bonkers”, “loony” and “misgenders basically everyone”. But equal rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has supported the efforts to eliminate trans discrimination, even though it should not be compulsory.
He told babe: “It is a positive thing to not always emphasise gender divisions and barriers. Differentiation based on gender is often unnecessary. We are all human. Why should our gender matter so much and be repeatedly highlighted in language? In an age when more people are defining themselves as transgender or gender-fluid, using gender-based pronouns ignores the new reality and could cause needless offence.
“It is good to have gender-neutral pronouns for those who want them.”
“This issue isn’t about being politically correct or censoring anyone. It’s about acknowledging the fact of changing gender identities and respecting people’s right to not define themselves as male or female. Giving people the ‘ze’ option is a thoughtful, considerate move.”
Sophie Buck, a welfare offer at Cambridge SU, also supported the move. She also told The Sunday Times: “Events start with a speaker introducing themselves using a gender-neutral pronoun. It’s part of a drive to make the union intersectional.”
We have reached out to Oxford University for comment.