A girl turned down a place at Brown because admissions used inclusive pronouns
‘Our daughter has always been clear what her biological gender and identity is – she’s a woman’
Last Thursday, Wall Street Journal editor and FOX News contributor James Freeman wrote an op-ed explaining the particularly horrifying plight of one WSJ reader. The reader’s daughter had recently been accepted to Brown from what has been announced to be the most competitive applicant pool yet. The student, a cisgender girl, and her father were confused when the letter sent to the admitted student from Brown’s Dean of Admissions, Logan Powell, used they/them pronouns to refer to the student.
The parent, oh-so-concerned about his daughter being referred to using the most specific pronouns possible, chalked up the use of different pronouns to a word-processing error. Their horror, unfortunately, was edified when they received a voicemail that also referred to the student with they/them.
He wrote in the WSJ opinion section: “’Mind you, our daughter has always been clear what her biological gender and identity is — she’s a woman,’ he reports. He believes the school ‘wants to make it clear that only left wing extremists are welcome at Brown. Fine with us — good riddance.’”
First of all, this guy needs to check out the correct terminology for sex, gender, identity, etc. Still, I don’t want to pull any kind of “special snowflake” rhetoric against him, but, for God’s sake, conservatives and their hypocrisy make it so easy. Language is literally fake. Nothing within the structure of language actually matters. There is no concrete, ideal English that we should all strive to emulate. With that in mind, people have been using they/them pronouns for gender-neutral, singular referents since the 14th century. I wonder if monks and scribes considered singular they a “literary crisis.” There has also been a push in recent years to use singular they/them because (surprise!) gender-variant people exist. Knowing that, is it really that offensive to use they/them? I would argue that the reader was accustomed to having their every gendered whim catered to.
Further, is he certain that his daughter is a woman? Would the sinful, progressive campus that is Brown University teach his daughter to show her ankles in public, gamble, or gallivant with the Devil in the woods? Let me tell you, on behalf of a trans freshman friend at a conservative school in Alabama, a school that is willing to accommodate the unsafe, marginalized few can literally save lives.
The WSJ wrote that Brown spokesman Brian Clark said in an email that the university administration typically uses gender-inclusive they/them pronouns in admissions communications. However, the father and his applicant daughter didn’t even wait for feedback. As soon as the university used a pronoun that didn’t support their comfort and complacency, it was no longer worthy of supplying an education. I think I speak for most people when I say that college is supposed to expand your views, not reinforce them.