The University of Tennessee's Pride Center is encouraging incoming students to use gender-neutral pronouns. Traditional pronouns "he" and "she" can be replaced with gender-neutral terms such as "ze" and "zir."
The suggestion – which is not mandatory – comes from Pride Center Director Donna Braquet, who told instructors to ask students to provide their name and preferred pronoun at the beginning of the semester.
"This ensures you are not singling out transgender or non-binary students,” Braquet told local station WATE. "The name a student uses may not be the one on the official roster, and the roster name may not be the same gender as the one the student now uses," she said. "We should not assume someone's gender by their appearance, or by what is listed on a roster or in student information system."
Bill Dunn, a Republican Representative with Tennessee's 16th District, is against the idea. “I think it’s good to say someone is a ‘he’ or a ‘she’," he said. "That tells somebody something. If you say I’m going to meet ‘ze,’ someone’s going to think you’re going to meet someone from another planet."
“People need to toughen up,” he added. “They probably need to have an Office of Suck It Up.”