Education

Students Practice Saying ‘Xyr’ And ‘Ey’ At Gender-Neutral Pronoun Workshop

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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A university is hosting a workshop Friday where students will learn and practice using gender-neutral pronouns like “xe/xem/xyr” and “ey/em/eir.”

The University of Maryland, Baltimore is hosting “Gender Neutral Pronoun Lunch & Learn,” a workshop that, along with an extensive LGBT Terminology dictionary on its website, marks the university’s attempt to accommodate its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Allied (LGBTQIA) population.

“Using the right pronoun is always the right thing to do but sometimes it can be hard to use gender neutral pronouns without practice,” reads the event description. “Join us in a casual and safe space where you can learn and practice pronouns such as they/them/their, xe/xem/xyr, ey/em/eir, and many more.”

The school’s LGBT Terminology lexicon lists over 80 terms pertaining to the LGBT community.

“Cisgender privilege” is defined as “the unearned rights or benefits afforded to cisgender people because of the gender conformance that are denied to those who are gender variant.” “Polyamory,” meanwhile, refers to “usually non-possessive” relationships with more than one individual.

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UMD also outlines seven elements of “gender attribution process,” detailing more well-known ones such as behavior or physical cues, but then proceeding to describe “mythic cues,” which include stereotypes such as the dumb blond and “textual cues” comprising documents like a driver’s license.

Gregory A. Brightbill, an academic coordinator at UMD’s Interprofessional Student Learning & Service Initiatives, is listed as the organizer for the workshop.

He also manages the school’s Safe Space program.

“Today’s event, ‘Gender Neutral Pronoun Lunch & Learn,’ was targeted for staff/faculty and 9 people attended,” said Laura Kozak, associate vice president for communications and public affairs and a member of the school’s Diversity Advisory Council, to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Diversity is among the core values at the University of Maryland, Baltimore,” said Kozak. “One of the latest initiatives is the installation of gender- neutral bathrooms across the campus. Other efforts include three training sessions in June, which is LGBT+ Pride Month.”

“They are Safe Space Training as part of a national program to identify LGBT+ friendly faculty, staff, and students; Safe Space Train-the-Trainer; and a session called Gender Neutral Pronoun Lunch & Learn in which faculty and staff could learn and practice pronouns in a casual and safe space.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Brightbill for comment, but received none in time for publication.

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