Students should have space on UT forms to write in preferred pronouns

Mary Dolan

As the LGBTQ movement has grown more visible, many universities have started discussing the topic of gender pronouns. Many people use “he” or “she,” but others, as researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have pointed out, prefer to use neutral gender pronouns such as “ze” or “ve.”

While more people are beginning to use these pronouns, the University has yet to keep up. Many UT documents only allow students to pick from the pronouns “he” and “she,” and some students have argued that UT should present students with a wider range of options. Marisa Kent, marketing and sociology senior and member of LGBTQ-friendly sorority Gamma Rho Lambda, agreed with those who want UT to recognize more identities.

“I think it’s important that we provide options for inclusivity on forms so our students that identify outside the binary [can properly] identify themselves,” Kent said.

While students should be able to have space on school forms to choose their preferred pronouns, trying to give students a full range of options is problematic. There are many widely accepted gender-neutral pronouns, and there are doubtless more that individuals come up with by themselves. 

It would be needlessly time-consuming to try to compile a list of dozens of gender pronouns for a school document, especially considering that students who created their own pronouns would be forced to choose another option anyway, due to the absence of their unique word.

Instead of trying to compile a lengthy and ever-changing list of pronouns, UT should simply give students an “other” line to identify themselves. If a student does not feel comfortable identifying as “he” or “she,” they can write out what pronoun they use to identify themselves, be it something that is widely used or something they made up. Lauren Ferguson, English senior and Gamma Rho Lambda president, said all UT students should have a chance to be known by their chosen identity. 

“By limiting pronouns, UT potentially triggers students struggling with their gender identity and disrespects part of their identity,” Ferguson said. She added that a way to remedy this would be “letting students write in their own pronouns so everyone has a chance to be accurately represented.” 

By letting students write in their own pronouns, UT can ensure every student will be included, and administrators will not waste time trying to compile an inadequate list of pronouns. More importantly, students will be able to identify themselves however they like and feel confident that others at UT will do the same.

Dolan is a journalism sophomore from Abilene. Follow her on Twitter @mimimdolan.