Special Reports

Oxford University Urges Colleges To Be Gender Neutral


Oxford University continues its efforts to be gender neutral. This time, it urges other institutions to "remove gender-specific titles."

It was previously reported that Oxford University is encouraging its student community to use the gender neutral pronoun "ze." The students' union revealed that the move was intended to decrease the risk of offending transgender students.

Peter Tatchell, an LGBT rights campaigner, described the school's announcement as a "thoughtful, considerate move." Oxford University's behavior code has deemed the wrong usage of pronoun to a transgender person is an offense.

In its official website, Oxford revealed that its equality policy is part of its efforts to have an inclusive environment which "promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected." It is aimed at enabling all members of its community to feel welcome, safe, valued and supported.

According to the Daily Mail, the institution has called on colleges and universities to take out gender-specific titles from websites and leaflets. This includes the Mr. and Mrs. titles.

Instead, institutions are advised to use only academic titles like Dr. and Prof. The guidance is contained in a document from the Equality and Diversity Unit.

It was noted that people should be allowed the option of appearing without any prefix, depending on their preference. The process of removing gender-specific titles is still ongoing.

Tatchell added that an individual's name is enough for identification. "It is a positive thing to not always emphasize gender," the LGBT rights campaigner said. "We are all human. Why does our gender matter so much and why should it be constantly highlighted by titles?"

The school's Equality and Diversity Unit confirmed that the guidance is currently being revised. A spokesperson for Oxford University told the publication that there was nothing to add to the advice which had already been published.

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