The University of Oklahoma’s Gender and Equality Center has issued a new gender-neutral pronoun guide that lists eight pronouns for students to know. Beyond the normal pronouns “he,” “she,” and “they,” there are the pronouns “ze,” “zie,” “sie,” “ey,” and “per.” These additional five pronouns are for genders that are not male or female, and are self-assigned based on how an individual chooses to portray himself. (Or should one say “zereself”?)
The guide explains the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation:
To put it simply, gender identity is self-identified and is our internal sense of who we are in terms of being a man, woman, or somewhere on the gendered spectrum. Sexual orientation is also self - identified and refers to whom we are attracted sexually, romantically, intellectually, emotionally, and/or spiritually, as we are attracted to people for different reasons. Some view them as two completely separate concepts. For others, the two are intricately entwined. Either way, what is most important is that a certain gender identity does not necessarily mean a certain sexual identity. A person who is transgender may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight.
If you’re confused, the university has provided this handy chart:
Still confused? Think of gender as a “continuum”:
Gender identity and sexual orientation are a part of each of us and often develop uniquely. Across human experience, gender identity may be experienced as a continuum. That is, some people do not experience gender solely as female or male.
They still don’t explain where “zie” falls on that continuum.
Designed to teach students how to be an “effective LGBTQ ally” the guide also educates on cisgender privileges and straight privileges and a rather erroneous list of how different church denominations view LGBT individuals.
This guide is the latest instalment in the series of the consequences of same-sex marriage for a society. Once gender is deemed irrelevant to marriage, it is deemed irrelevant more broadly, and it goes beyond a ‘live and let live’ mentality to one where everyone is taught – and ultimately compelled – to use a new language. Although these are just suggested, soon we may be seeing more individuals being punished for not using gendered pronouns correctly, such as this teacher’s aide in Canada.