Xe, xem, xyr are the new preferred pronouns for transgendered students in the Vancouver school system. Although the National Post is skeptical that this attempt to add a nongendered pronoun to English is doomed -- based largely on the fact that every other attempt has failed abominably -- the VSB's manager of social responsibility and diversity reminds us that not so long ago, no one said "firefighter" while today, "fireman" fairly clangs on the ear.
The Vancouver School Board has decided that students may ask teachers and staff to address them by the pronoun of their choice, to accommodate transgender students for whom “he” and “she” do not fit.
Offered as possible replacements by the board: The newly coined pronouns xe, xem, xyr, which are pronounced to rhyme with the genderless plurals, they, them, and their, only starting with the “z” sound.
“It does require one to be quite mindful,” said Lisa Pedrini, VSB’s manager of social responsibility and diversity, although it would only apply to a “very tiny tiny minority” of students.
The policy, passed amid some controversy late Monday, is the latest in a 150-year-old linguistic tradition, born of frustration at a grammatical quirk of the English language — that pronouns must agree in gender with the noun they represent, even if that gender is not known.
Vancouver School Board’s genderless pronouns — xe, xem, xyr — not likely to stick, if history is any indication [Joseph Brean/National Post]
(Image: All-Gender Restroom Sign, Samir Luther, CC-BY)
“A Serb makes a good wife: she can pull the cart out of mud.” That old Serbian proverb, its genius author has no name. It’s like the earthy quip from a hospital that I once heard in real life; after her severe car crash, the emergency doctor told her worried husband: Don’t you worry man, […]
Rudy Rucker writes, “Isabel Rucker and friends are promoting a GoFundMe project to give an Ms. subscription to each of the elected officials in Wyoming. Why? To raise awareness of women’s issues. Wyoming has the largest gender pay gap in the country, has the smallest percentage of women in its state legislature, is among the […]
The use of “them” as a gender-neutral pronoun goes back hundreds of years, but the weaponizing of grammar as a way to tell people how to talk (rather than a way to understand what speakers are saying) made the practice anathema, creating strong headwinds for people looking to adapt usage to accommodate a spectrum of […]
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]