Bristol University has released a gender pronoun guide that is intended to educate its staff on gender inclusion. They published the guide with links to sources saying some individuals may identify as felines while others could use ‘emojiself’ pronouns.
‘Emojiself’ pronouns refer to the use of emojis to express a pronoun, which can be gender-neutral. According to the LGBTA Wiki the guide linked to, felines refer to someone who is catgender and they may use nya/nyan pronouns. Nyan/nya means ‘meow’ in Japanese.
Catgender if also referred to as a person who strongly identifies with cats or other felines and has experienced delusions which relate to being a feline or a cat. Reactions to the guide have ranged from outraged to confused, with some calling it ‘embarrassing’.
As a result of the backlash, the links and mentions of emojiself and catgender have since been removed. Neopronouns like ‘ze, zir, and zirs’ are also used in the guide. These are singular third-person pronouns that would be used instead of ‘them’ or ‘they’. They are not currently recognised in our language. This guide is supposed to encourage staff to not be defensive when making a mistake with a student’s pronouns and explains why getting it correct is important. It also provides suggestions on how staff can be more inclusive.
Responding to the backlash received, the University of Bristol has produced the following statement: “The University of Bristol is committed to gender inclusion. The correct use of pronouns is important to some members of our University community. The information on our website is designed to help people understand the different variations and nuances that this covers.”
“There is no expectation that staff must commit every possible pronoun to memory,” the statement continues. “Using pronouns on email signatures or as part of meeting introductions is not a mandatory requirement.”