‘Preferred gender pronouns’ gaining traction at colleges

Schools including the University of Vermont, Mills College, and Hampshire College have started giving students a third—or fourth or fifth—option when it comes to what they’re called.

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Inviting students to state their preferred gender pronouns, known as PGPs for short, and encouraging classmates to use unfamiliar ones such as “ze,” “sie,” “e,” “ou” and “ve” has become an accepted back-to-school practice for professors, dorm advisers, club sponsors, workshop leaders and health care providers at several schools.

Back in October, Slate posed the question of whether gender-neutral pronouns will ever catch on. They seem to be picking up at some schools. The AP gives examples of how the University of Vermont; Mills College in Oakland, Calif.; Hampshire College in Massachusetts; and the University of California, Berkeley, are giving students options that go beyond “he” and “she.”

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