The University of Colorado Boulder has released a ‘pronoun guide’ which states that misgendering someone is an “act of violence.”
On the university’s Center for Inclusion and Social Change website, students have created a pronoun guide in support of an “inclusive environment.” This guide suggests that one should assume others are transgender or nonbinary unless explicitly told otherwise, therefore encouraging to default on the use of gender-neutral pronouns.
“Sometimes people just don’t want to share their pronouns and that’s fair. Usually it’s safe to use they/them/theirs unless that person tells you otherwise,” the guide says.
The pronoun guide warns that if someone uses the wrong pronouns to address someone, it could cause that person to experience “dysphoria, exclusion, and alienation.”
“It is never safe to assume someone’s gender and living a life where people will naturally assume the correct pronouns for you is a privilege that not everyone experiences,” the website states. “Choosing to ignore or disrespect someone’s pronouns is not only an act of oppression but can also be considered an act of violence.”
The danger of this statement is that it allows students and faculty to interpret certain acts as “violent” and then use this as justification for self-defense in whatever form they’ve deemed appropriate.
The guide even includes “ze/zir/zirs” as serious pronouns that someone could use.
The website also demands that the words “he” or “she” never be used to refer to anyone ever because these words are “incredibly offensive.” The guide also implores its readers to never even use these offensive terms in public “unless given explicit consent from everyone who will hear it,” effectively striving to ban “he-she” pronouns from the everyday vocabulary.
CU Boulder’s pronoun guide also reminds everyone that “being an ally is not a thing you are, it is a thing you do.”
At the beginning of this guide, CU Boulder has a disclaimer that says, “This information was created by students, for students. The university supports an inclusive environment.”