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Professors must navigate fluctuating gender identities without offending… Good Luck!

If you are a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and have not received the latest “Gender-Inclusive/Non-Sexist Language Guidelines,” be forewarned. Not only must you be prepared to memorize — and correctly pronounce — a litany of new personal pronouns, including “zi,” “zim,” and “zir.” You also need to be sensitive to the fact that gender identities of your students are subject to change presumably from one day to the next. Translation: Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.

The guidelines, distributed via the Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Study Program, were co-authored by linguistics professor Scott F. Kiesling and visiting English/Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies lecturer Julie Beaulieu. The document opens with a question that, sadly, is being taken increasingly seriously in liberal circles, which include academe: “Have you ever been called by a name or gender that you don’t identify with?”

Read the rest of this article by Howard Portnoy at

Graphic credit TheGenderBook tumblr


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