Oxford students not told to avoid 'he' and 'she', union says

The Radcliffe Camera Image copyright PA
Image caption Oxford students are encouraged to introduce themselves with their chosen pronoun, the union said

The Oxford students union has denied reports that it told students to use gender-neutral pronouns such as "ze".

The Sunday Times said the move, outlined in a leaflet produced by the union, was "intended to stop transgender students being offended".

But the student body described the article as "a piece of misinformation" and said no such leaflet existed.

It added that students are encouraged at meetings to introduce themselves with the pronoun of their choice.

In a statement posted on its website the Oxford University Students' Union said telling people to stop using "he" and "she" would be "totally counterproductive".

'A media storm'

"That would be misgendering and would likely have the biggest impact on individuals who may already be struggling to get people to use 'he' or 'she' for them," it said.

"Requesting that people state their pronouns, and do not assume the pronouns of others, is not particularly radical or controversial.

"It's a standard practice, not just in Oxford but in student communities and LGBTQ-friendly spaces all over, and we encourage its spread.

"We find it disappointing that a piece of misinformation has resulted in a media storm around what is a very basic effort to ensure our trans students feel welcome within the Oxford community."

The Sunday Times was contacted for a comment.

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