MSU to Natural Science students: 'No science is needed to support transgender and non-binary identities'
The NatSci Council on Diversity and Community at Michigan State University sent students in the department an email entitled "Increasing transgender visibility on campus."
Included in the message was a link to “learn about and start using the singular they" pronoun.
The College of Natural Science at Michigan State University urged students to use the singular pronoun “they” in an early April “transgender visibility” email.
MSU’s NatSci Council on Diversity and Community authored the email obtained by Campus Reform entitled “Increasing transgender visibility on campus,” which asked students to “reflect on how visibility of minoritized groups is essential to changing our campus culture,” and provided several online resources to help improve students’ understanding.
These included links to LGBT resource centers, how to “learn about and start using the singular they,” a resource on hosting queer inclusive workshops, one dedicated to inviting “transgender and gender-diverse scientists," guides on transphobia, and more.
“No science is needed to support transgender and non-binary identities,” the email stated. “It is simply a matter of affirming their experiences.”
Clicking on the pronoun link brings up a colorful and interactive web page titled “I [love] the singular they,” which maps out benefits and tools to using the pronoun to refer to a person. The page argues that the singular “they” is “neutral,” “easy," “inclusive,” and “classy.”
“Writing with non-gender-neutral pronouns is a serious pain,” the site linked by MSU says. “Some prefer the Frankenword 's/he,' while others rack their brain. Some stick with a particular pronoun for one paragraph or chapter, then swap out the one they’re using; others alternate ‘he’ and ‘she’ by sentence, or use a plural adapter, but that all sounds confusing.”
“They” is “a metaphorical blanket that can cover the human population (which, non-metaphorically, would be a cuddle celebration),” according to the site. “‘They’ doesn’t assume a person’s gender, and it doesn’t assume there are only two.”
Students of MSU’s Natural Science college had mixed reactions to the email.
Ashley Deaton, a food science and microbiology freshman, told Campus Reform, “I believe this email may come across as effective,” but she disagreed with its intention. “Emails, like the one we were sent, are dangerous in that they push a single mentality that actually isn't as straightforward as people may believe.”
MSU physiology student Shad Soldano had a different perspective.
While he admitted the email “did take me by surprise,” he told Campus Reform, “I feel that the email (in my understanding) portrays a good cause in bringing awareness and hopefully eliminating remaining prejudices towards the transgender community.”
Campus Reform reached out to Kendra Kanaboshi, the MSU administrative assistant who sent the email, but received no comment in time for publication.
Follow this author on Twitter @SergeiKelley