He said/she said/ ze…what now? Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs) are becoming commonplace in LGBT focused student organizations at colleges across the country.
“Ze,”‘sie,” “e,” “ou” and “ve” have been added to the traditional “he or she” as PGPs by some students, and the Associated Press spoke to Mills College’s “Mouthing Off!” LGBT student organization president Skylar Crownover (who prefers to be referred to as “he” or “they”) about the PGP that they prefer to use.
“Because I go to an all-women’s college, a lot of people are like, ‘If you don’t identify as a woman, how did you get in?’ I just tell them the application asks you to mark your sex and I did,” Crownover explained. “It didn’t ask me for my gender.”
Other colleges are following suit, with the University of Vermont allowing the choice of “she, he, and ze” on their class rosters and Hampshire College in Massachusetts using PGPs for its campus tour guides on their website.
Confusing or not, PGPs seem to be here to stay. Trinity College writer-in-residence Lucy Ferriss sees it as a natural progression not only of the LGBT rights movement, but of language itself.
“Most language has evolved organically,” she said. “But there have been times — and when it comes to issues of gender there probably have to be times — when there are people willing to push the envelope.”