By: Krystle Crossman
In an effort to bring more equality to the classroom, one Vancouver school has developed a set of gender-neutral pronouns. They are not the first to do so but have developed more of a system than some of the other countries that also try to eliminate gender specifics.
The pronouns that the students are now learning are xe, xem, and xyr. They are all pronounced with a z in front so that they rhyme with they, them, and their. So if for example a child was speaking about a transgendered child in class they would say xe (zay) in place of “they” or “he” or “she”. The schools believe that it is a more inclusive and less offensive way of determining who the students are speaking about as there are other pronouns that could be considered offensive. Sometimes people use the pronoun “shim” when speaking about a transgendered person. This term can be hurtful and is not one that should be used.
The school board in Vancouver said that these pronouns are only meant to be used for a small majority of the students. They said that anyone who feels that gender specific pronouns are irrelevant can use them. Anyone that is speaking about a transgendered person can use them. This new change has been met with some public outcry and controversy. People do not feel that the language should be changed for such a small sampling of the population as it could become confusing. Some also feel that if a person is transgendered they know what gender they wish to be and have done what they can to transform themselves into the gender they identify, so why not use pronouns that state as much?
This has been tried many years ago but it has never stuck because of the confusion of adding new pronouns into a language that were not there before. These pronouns probably will not be around for long as they are only used for a small sampling of students so they will not be used often.