Spectrum supports zir’s spectrum

WBHS Spectrum represents all genders in publication

Spectrum supports zirs spectrum

Today, on the day West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) honors the National Day of Silence, we, the Spectrum staff, share a new policy designed to ensure that all of our community feels heard, rather than silenced when they are referenced in our publication.  In an effort to not make assumptions, and better serve our LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) interviewees, Spectrum reporters will now ask all interviewees what gender pronouns they want used in referencing them.  Interviewees may choose traditional male pronouns (he, him), traditional female pronouns (she, her) or gender neutral pronouns (ze, zir).

We, at Spectrum, recognize that gender identity does not always match our assumptions based on visuals cues, that gender is fluid (and thus we will ask each time we interview someone in case their preferred gender pronoun has changed) and that not everyone exists within the binary paradigm of identifying as simply “male” or “female.”  As the staff at the Daily Lobo of the University of New Mexico wrote in their editorial of April 09, 2015 introducing  a similar policy, “Gender is a difficult topic to tackle in journalism.  It is not something people always wear on the outside; it’s about how they feel on the inside.”  Like the Daily Lobo, we, too, reference nlgja.org – a resource for LGBT journalists and for writing about LGBT persons—as a guide regarding terminology to best represent individuals of all genders and orientations.

While using they/them as gender neutral singular pronouns is an option, that becomes very confusing in a news story while referencing many different individuals and groups.  Therefore, we have decided to use the non-gender-specific pronoun “ze,” and the possessive, “zir” for anyone who chooses this representation.  If we are unable to ask an individual regarding their preferred personal pronouns, we will use the gender-neutral options.

Why are gender preferred pronouns and offering gender neutral pronouns as an option important?  We refer you to Carleton College’s explanation of this found at https://apps.carleton.edu/student/orgs/saga/pronouns/  Carleton uses the pronouns “ze” and “hir” while we choose “ze” and “zir,” however the information is still applicable.  Please check out this page to understand why offering non gender specific pronouns is important,  read the answers to frequently asked questions and even find a table (copied below) giving examples of how to use gendered and gender neutral pronouns.

Spectrum chooses today, the day we honor the National Day of Silence, in partnership with WBHS GSA (Gay Straight Alliance, sometimes also referred to as the Gender and Sexuality Alliance), to announce this change in policy in an effort to continue striving for inclusiveness and accuracy in our reporting.  Stephen Toy, English teacher and co-advisor of the GSA said, “We are fully supportive of this new policy of Spectrum.  Many students in GSA will be excited by this news.”


gender spectrum