For some growing up, education meant learning how to read, write, and make friends. You developed your math and art skills, built connections, and organized schedules. Fortunately, for some this still more or less describes their academic experience.
However, an alarming trend has been emerging in recent years where the traditional problems of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood like learning arithmetic and taking standardized tests are being replaced with neo-Marxist demoralization tactics. Many university age students are now struggling to even identify their own gender.
Oxford University’s student union has begun encouraging students to replace the traditional “he” and “she” pronouns with the gender neutral “ze”. According to a leaflet the student union passed out, the measure is designed to avoid offending transgendered students.
The Sunday Times reported that misuse of a pronoun is an “offense” and that some hope the behavior will continue into lecture halls and seminars. The decision was championed by gay rights activists and others on the political left.
According to proponents of gender neutrality, the decision to use “ze” is somewhat of a liberation from traditional gender confines. Now, instead of being confined to gender barriers, students will have the option of rejecting male and female pronouns for another one.
The strange idea doesn’t stop at Oxford, though. Cambridge University also hopes to adopt similar standards for approaching gender.
Believe it or not, there are entire guidebooks out there on how to not offend special snowflakes who want to be referred to a specific way. On Sunday, The Mail reported that there is a small industry of professionals (some making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year) to help teachers not offend their students.
The book reported on, entitled Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? criticizes traditional gender roles and encourages students to reject them if they so choose. Some children are being targeted by the book as early as elementary school. The book contains a hodgepodge of bizarre alternative names for gender variants like “genderfluid”, “genderqueer”, and “intersex”.
Designed for age seven and above, the book claims to be an educational tool for young people to avoid offending marginalized gender groups. It is published by “Educate & Celebrate”, a taxpayer-funded initiative designed to promote gender diversity in the public education system.
As more universities and other academic institutions succumb to ideas of gender neutrality, some are fighting back. Perhaps the most notable has been Canada’s Jordan Peterson, who refuses to call students by gender neutral names. Peterson has said he’s been harassed, insulted, and even had his office door glued shut because he refused to conform to the alarming new trend.
Additionally, groups in the UK have criticized Educate & Celebrate, calling its efforts “damaging”. Former UK Tory chair Lord Tebbit even went so far as to say the book introduced “uncertainty” into the minds of the readers. Despite their protests, the group received £200k of taxpayer money to publish more work on gender diversity from a former education secretary.
Sir Anthony Seldon, former master of Wellington college, takes a more nuanced approach, believing both the wishes of traditionally minded and progressive students should both be respected.
“We have to respect the feelings of everybody, including teachers and parents who want traditional modes followed.”