by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No, I’m not referencing the famous “Rabbit Seasoning” interchange between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Instead, I’m highlighting a mildly disturbing column at National Review Online from Jay Nordlinger.
Recently, Donna Braquet, the director of the Pride Center at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, wrote the following on the university’s website: “With the new semester beginning and an influx of new students on campus, it is important to participate in making our campus welcoming and inclusive for all. One way to do that is to use a student’s chosen name and their correct pronouns.”
Obviously, she thinks that “their” goes with “student” — which is very modern.
She had some advice for teachers. “In the first weeks of classes, instead of calling roll, ask everyone to provide their name and pronouns. This ensures you are not singling out transgender or non-binary students.” She also recommended that, at events where name tags are used, pronouns be printed beside names.
What are the optional pronouns, by the way? “There are dozens,” Braquet explained. These include “ze/hir/hirs,” “ze/zir/zirs,” and “xe/xem/xyr.” “These may sound a little funny at first,” said Braquet, “but only because they are new. The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.”
Yes, that is true.
After protests from legislators and others in Tennessee, the president of the UT system demanded that Braquet’s instructions or guidelines be removed from the university’s website. He said that they gave the impression that the new way of pronouns was mandatory. Knoxville issued a statement: “There is no mandate or official policy to use gender-neutral pronouns.” Braquet’s words were simply “offered as a resource to our campus community on inclusive practices.”