California State University Northridge hopes its students understand the significance of pronouns.
Therefore, via its University Student Union’s Pride Center, the school has dedicated a webpage to “Why Pronouns Matter for Everyone.”
“Jump-start the learning curve,” it says, “by educating yourself.”
CSUN tells cisgender students not to make their peers do work that’s on them:
Don’t make your Transgender and Nonbinary peers do all the work in pronoun education. It is possible to jumpstart your learning by being educated and sharing our knowledge with those around you.
Awareness is the key to success
We use pronouns every day, even though we don’t realize it. We use these pronouns in speech and writing to take the place of people’s name and many other proper nouns. One example lies in self-references: Every time you use ‘my’ or ‘mine’ you’re using a pronoun!
You can’t use your fingers to trigger:
When speaking about someone in the third-person, pronouns with a gender implied are often used (think she/he). These associations with gender are where our language can become triggering or divisive for folx whose gender expression doesn’t match their gender identity. Using someone’s correct pronouns is one of the simplest ways to show your respect for their identity.
As for gender identity and gender expression being at odds — if I accurately understand — that refers to, for instance, a biological male who wears a dress yet doesn’t identify as a woman.
Perhaps that person considers themself neither/nor — “noun-self” pronouns such as “bunself” or “kittenself” may apply.
The school warns of “how divisive pronoun assumptions can be for many individuals.”
Let’s break down how this can be so instantly harmful.
- You can’t know what someone’s pronouns are by looking at them. Many times, people make presumptions about the gender or pronouns of someone based on their looks and names. These assumptions aren’t always correct.
- It is a dangerous act to assume (even when it’s true) that someone must be a particular way to display their gender.
- The wrong pronoun can lead to an individual feeling hurtful, disrespected or invalidated. It can be a quick indicator of whether they feel valued at CSUN.
- Sharing our pronouns and correctly using other people’s pronouns sets a tone of inclusion. For newcomers who feel especially vulnerable, it can really make a difference.
- Many may have never heard of pronouns before, and this is an excellent learning opportunity for the CSUN Community. This will allow you to set an example for others.
A list of pronouns is provided, with the note that “there are no ‘male/female,’ ‘man/woman’ or ‘feminine/masculine’ pronouns. All pronouns can be used for any gender.”
Students are offered “Ey,” “He,” “Per,” “She,” “TheyThem,” “Ve,” “Xe” and “Ze” for consideration.
- Ey loves emself.
- He cares about himself.
- Per loves perself.
- She cares about herself.
- They have complete faith in themselves.
- Ve loves verself.
- Xe love xemself.
- Ze is a believer in his own abilities.
- Ze trusts zirself.
Some folx don’t allow you to use pronouns for them:
- Taylor trusts Taylor’s self.
And to be clear, you shouldn’t feel fear:
Don’t panic over pronunciation! Although these are the most commonly used pronouns you can pronounce, they come in many forms so be sure to get clarification from your individual.
The most interesting part about the instruction is the fact that pronouns can be used without being seen by the person to which they are referring.
Nonetheless, the CSUN’s FAQs section addresses the question “What if I make a mistake?”
It’s normal. It happens to all of us! R.A.M. is a good idea. (Relax, Apologize, Move on). Transgender people are often responsible for easing the embarrassment of transgender people. Don’t excessively apologize or make it about yourself or how hard it is for you to learn new pronouns. Just apologize and do your best to use the right pronoun next time.
If everyone has their own pronoun combinations, communication-wise, we’re on course to become the most complex society in human history — please see my example of our recommended new normal here.
But so goes progress.
So if you’re attending CSUN, set aside some time — there’s a world of work to do.
You can find more of my content here:
Excellence in Equity: California Eyes Obliterating ‘Bias’ by Getting Rid of Grades
Georgia Puts the Kibosh on Universities’ Anti-Liberty ‘Free Speech Zones’
Harvard Apologizes For Slavery and Offers $100 million to Make it Better
Check out all of my RedState work Click here.
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