Grammar nerds have long been fighting over whether it is acceptable to use “they” as a gender-netural pronoun to replace he or she, but for the University of Tennessee the debate is settled. Not only it’s okay, it’s recommended—and so is the use of other gender-neutral pronouns, including ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.
These words, according to the university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s Pride Center, are only some of the “dozens of gender-neutral pronouns” available to English speakers. The office posted a handy primer on use and pronunciations for its staff to use.
These gender-binary options…
…can replaced by these gender-neutral options instead:
|they||them||their||as it looks|
|ze||hir||hirs||zhee, here, heres|
|ze||zir||zirs||zhee, zhere, zheres|
|xe||xem||xyr||zhee, zhem, zhere|
Another tip offered to university staff is to ask students, on their first day, the name and pronoun by…
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