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The University of Vermont Officially Recognizes ‘Neutral’ as a Gender

Wish schools would ditch the tired gender binary already? It’s happening.

Wish schools would ditch the tired gender binary already? Fret not, trans and genderqueer rights crusaders. The University of Vermont is leading the way.

Image via Creative Commons

As reported by The New York Times, the famously progressive “Groovy UV” has made history with its recent agreement to officially recognize a third gender — neutral — as well as the legitimacy of gender neutral pronouns. From now on when enrolling, students will provide the university with their preferred name, regardless of its legal status, their gender identification and preferred pronouns. The school will then disperse this information to professors so they can address students properly in class.

The move is unprecedented and bold, but it wasn’t an easy battle to get here. It took ten years of lobbying for UVM to make history. A task force made up of students, faculty and administrators was created and a pricey software patch was required to make things official.

It all may seem over the top to those stuck in a he-or-she world, but the changes could legitimately save lives.

“Some people try to reduce this whole topic to kids trying to be cool or they’re just acting out or whatever, just trying to be different or new,” Robyn Ochs, an LGBTQ activist, told the Times. “But there have always been people who have felt profoundly uncomfortable in their assigned gender roles,” she said. “Anything we can do to make them safer, or make them feel recognized, heard, seen, understood, we should do. To validate their identity and experience could, in fact, save their life.”

Hopefully other universities, and society at large, follow UVM’s lead.

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