Misgendering is an ‘act of violence,' university argues
A page on the University of Colorado Boulder's website under its 'Pride Office' claims that misgendering people can be considered an act of violence.
'Choosing to ignore or disrespect someone’s pronouns is not only an act of oppression but can also be considered an act of violence,' asserts the 'Pronouns' guide.
A page on the University of Colorado Boulder’s (CU Boulder) website under its “Pride Office” claims that misgendering people can be considered an “act of violence.”
“Choosing to ignore or disrespect someone’s pronouns is not only an act of oppression but can also be considered an act of violence,” asserts the “Pronouns” guide, which was “created by students, for students” and listed under the office’s LGBTQ+ resources.
The students further encourage everyone to use gender-neutral pronouns until they are sure which gender the person they are addressing uses.
“If someone tells you their pronouns, use those!” they exclaim. “If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, don’t assume gendered pronouns and use gender-neutral ones, like they or ze.”
They add that it is “never safe to assume someone’s gender” and that “living a life where people will naturally assume the correct pronouns for you is a privilege that not everyone experiences.”
Using someone’s pronouns incorrectly, even unintentionally, is alleged by the students to “lead to dysphoria, exclusion and alienation.”
In the event that you transgress by using a pronoun that someone doesn’t prefer, the guide recommends apologizing.
“If you make it a big deal, you draw more attention onto someone who maybe doesn’t want it,” they state. “As long as you portray that you are sorry and you try harder next time, it’s going to be okay.”
If you continue to use a non-preferred pronoun without making an “effort to change,” however, the students deem that to be offensive behavior.
“Remember; this is more for them and not you, so never make your apology about you,” adds the guide. “Always make it about the person you have wronged.”
The students then proceed to teach those less informed that third parties should step in to assist trans people in correcting pronouns, if such an occasion arises.
“Do not ignore a situation where people continuously use the wrong pronouns,” it states. “The mark of a true ally is never giving up on the people you want to help.”
“Plus, gender non-conforming people tend to get tired of always correcting other people, so having a friend to help is amazing,” they add.
The students also include a chart to educate the people on how to use pronouns, including newly-invented ones such as “ze/zir/zirs.”
CU Boulder did not respond to a request for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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