[Ads-l] Preferred Pronoun--pragmatics and policy

Flourish Klink flourish.klink at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 10 13:16:37 EDT 2016


I certainly agree with the problem of unique pronouns (someone I knew once
wanted "ou," which I did my best to comply with but *really *found almost
impossible), but I always wonder: Why not use "they," which has been
perfectly serviceable as a pronoun for people whose gender is unknown for
ages? (I'm sure there is a good reason and someone on this list will tell
me—but it's evaded me thus far, despite many discussions with many clever
people.)

As for everything else, I would point out that for those of us who are cis
and yet sometimes misgendered, sharing this information saves a lot of
embarrassment. Not embarrassment on my part (I don't care if you call me
male! I'm fully aware that I can look boyish) but on the part of people who
really don't want to get it wrong. It's really awkward when someone calls
you "sir," then insists on a twenty-minute apology session.

On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 12:42 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> "[A]n August [2015] post on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's website
> that encouraged UT faculty, staff and students to be 'welcoming and
> inclusive for all' by not assuming gender identity and by asking for
> preferred pronouns, including the gender-neutral options like 'xe,' 'xem'
> and  'xyr.'"
>
> My two cents: LGBTQ students should be allowed to choose from "he" and
> "she," as they prefer.
>
> All else is vanity and will result in confusion, chaos, and resentment far
> beyond any presumed therapeutic benefit for individuals or society. LGBTQ
> persons (and anybody else) not satisfied with "he" or "she" can, if they
> wish, try to persuade everyone they meet to use any arcane novelty pronoun
> of their choice.
>
> ...knowing they are probably encouraging a right-wing populist uprising
> down the road.
>
> JL
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 10:07 AM, Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at wayne.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > It's rare that the two aspects of my life intersect, but here's a
> question
> > that involves both the IT policy and the American English and
> > sociolinguistic sides.
> >
> > Our university, like many others, is instituting a system where students
> > and staff can choose a 'Preferred Name' which will then show up on class
> > rosters, grade lists, and other 'public-facing' web documents. The legal
> > name will remain hidden except for  those pages that need to display it
> > (such as social security, financial aid, bank accounts etc.). This is not
> > difficult to do (aside from some programming on the back end.)
> >
> > However, there has also been a request for people to be able to set a
> > 'preferred pronoun'. This is generally an issue for transgendered
> students,
> > who are trying to avoid being referred to by the incorrectly gendered
> > pronoun. And, of course, since we are  in the 2010's, there are also some
> > experimental non-gendered pronouns floating around.
> >
> > So I have several questions:
> >
> > If you are at a university which has instituted 'preferred pronoun', what
> > choices does your university give to those who choose one?
> >
> > How is this information conveyed to those who need to see it? Preferred
> > names show up on class rosters, advisement pages, grade submission pages
> > and so on. But there's no place in those pages for 'pronoun'.
> >
> > We could add a field there, but how do we populate it? By putting
> > something there we announce that the person has chosen one (for the usual
> > Gricean reasons), and thus violate their privacy.
> >
> > But if we populate that field for everyone, we'd either have to make all
> > 30K faculty, staff and students choose one (and have to hound those who
> > refused) or we'd have to guess for the 99.9% who didn't choose, and given
> > the number of gender-neutral first  names (Kim, Lee, Kaoru) we'd likely
> > guess wrong and annoy lots of other people.
> >
> >
> > Thoughts? Please reply off-list, as this is likely not of much interest
> to
> > the majority of listmembers.
> >
> >
> > Geoff
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Geoffrey S. Nathan
> > WSU Information Privacy Officer
> > Professor, Linguistics Program
> > http://blogs.wayne.edu/proftech/
> > +1 (313) 577-1259 <(313)%20577-1259>
> >
> > Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it
> > to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email  looks.
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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