Oxford University has made a bold move, which most conservative individuals might term imprudent and rash. It has introduced the concept of a gender neutral pronoun – ‘ze’. This move was made to prevent students getting offended by the use of wrong pronouns
I firmly believe that the beginning of gender neutral pronouns is a good start for humans to instil in them the sensitivity they have lost. Being considerate to a transgender or queer individual by addressing them as ‘ze’ will ease their difficult transition. Being transgender is not easy as many people believe. Sometimes even your family does not accept who you are. By using gender neutral pronouns, we in our own way show that we are support these individuals for who they are.
Everyone has a right to define themselves as male, female or transgender or queer. If one does not conform to the binary gender rules, well they don’t have to. Giving people the “ze” option is a thoughtful, considerate move.
Adopting this in other schools and universities would be a dauntless move, especially if it is adopted in Indian universities and schools. Through this action, Indian teens struggling through gender transition would at least not be bullied by intentionally calling them with the wrong pronoun. This will also help Indians become more open-minded and accepting.
However fearless or bold this move is, I don’t believe India is ready for this kind of a radical change. India – whether you like it or not – is a conventional society. I do not think we can just ask Indians to change all of a sudden.
Children learn what their surroundings teach them. One of their biggest influences is their parents. Most parents either consciously biased or unaware about transgenderism. For this thought of having neutral pronouns, it is them who should first make aware about the concept, and then approach the children.
Let’s just start with baby steps, and first bring about acceptance about transgender individuals, rather than suddenly dropping a bomb such as this on Indian society.