Preferred pronouns pose perplexing problems

By PAMELA CERROS, Ranger Reporter:

“What’s your preferred pronoun?” The question is becoming more common as universities and colleges across the country are asking students to specify their preferred pronouns in an effort to make transgender, nonbinary and genderfluid students feel more comfortable.

“He” and “him,” “she” and “her,” “they” and “them” and new gender neutral pronouns such as “zie” and “zim” or “ve” and “ver” are all options.

A guide to pronounsAt Amarillo College, students have been discussing the topic of pronouns. Most students said they believe that those who do not identify with their assigned birth gender, should have an option.

“They should be called what they want to be called,” said Ashley Wilson, a general studies major. “It is important so that other people feel they are getting treated fairly.”

Business management major, Chase Warrick, agreed that students should be given a choice of pronoun. “Whatever their third pronoun suggestion is, I will go with it,” Warrick said. “I would like for them to have an option if that is what they want. Some are OK with it. Some are not. Everyone is different.”

Other students said the solution is simply to avoid using a pronoun. “They have a name, we should call them by their name,” said Christina Coca, a physical therapy major. “Homies, peeps, humans. Whatever they want to be called is what I will call them,” Coca said.

Knowing how to refer to other students would be a relief, according to some students.

“Just by looking at someone, it is not necessarily easy to tell what they want to be called,” Hannah Roberts, a human resources major, said. “It would be hard to find a word to associate someone without offending them.”

Whatever the choice of pronoun, Roberts said education on what to say would help. “If it is something people are going to put to use, I feel more people should be informed about it,” Roberts said.

Students agreed that the pronoun “it” is not acceptable for referring to people. “How degrading is that, it is regressing,” said Britt O’Rand, a business management major. “We have come too far to call someone ‘it.’”

EMT major, Chesney Rendon, said, “I wouldn’t call a baby that is inside of someone ‘it’ so why call a person that?”

Students said we need to move beyond labels and toward an understanding of humanity.

“I don’t know, I would call them a person,” said Wilson. “I think it is a challenge. I am sure they are upset they are being grouped when they are just people.”

Students said the best advice is to remember to think before you speak, avoid judging and acknowledge others as human beings. “Just remember one thing,” said David Cervantes, a business major. “Be proud of who you are.”

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