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'Ze' or 'They'? A Guide to Using Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Rule No. 1: Don’t assume you know someone’s gender just by looking at them.
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Earlier this month, Harvard University made a buzz after allowing students to select gender-neutral options like “ze,” “e,” and “they” on registration forms. In doing so, it joined a wave of other major colleges in acknowledging that gender identity, and the pronouns that go with it, is more fluid than how previous generations understood it.

Among academic institutions, the University of Vermont led the change last year when it became the first school to allow students to select their own identifiers. Students chose their preferred first names and pronouns, which were then added to the campus-wide information system and distributed to professors, according to The New York Times. It was a welcome change for students like Rocko Gieselman, who is gender fluid and was born female bodied. Gieselman explained to the Times: