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Franklin Graham Calls Univ. of Tennessee's Transgender Pronouns 'Ze' and 'Zir' Advisory 'Ridiculous'

Franklin Graham
The Rev. Franklin Graham. |

Leading evangelist Franklin Graham took to Facebook last Friday to voice his disapproval with the University of Tennessee's new practice of encouraging students and faculty to use gender-neutral pronouns like "ze" and "zir" instead of gender specific pronouns like "she" and "her."

In a memo posted to the website for the University of Tennessee's Office for Diversity and Inclusion last week by the director of the school's Pride Center, Donna Braquet, it was advised that members of the university community should begin using gender neutral pronouns such as "ze," "hir," "hirs," "zir," zirs," "xem," and "xyr" to replace standard gender binary pronouns like "he," "she," "his," "her" and "hers."

The purpose behind using gender neutral pronouns, Braquet wrote, is to create a campus environment that is "welcoming and inclusive for all" as fall semester classes have started this month.

"We should not assume someone's gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems," Braquet wrote. "Transgender people and people who do not identity within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth."

"In the first weeks of classes, instead of calling roll, ask everyone to provide their name and pronouns," she added. "This ensures you are not singling out transgender or non-binary students."

Braquet's pronoun advice drew the ire of some prominent conservatives including Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. Graham wrote in a Facebook post that Braquet's advisory is "ridiculous."

"Are you kidding me? I agree with [Republican Tennessee state] Senator Mae Beavers who said, 'It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard,'" Graham wrote. "Think of the money and positions being wasted by this office. God created male and female — you don't have to have a college degree to understand that."

As progressives across the country have pushed for more transgender rights, Graham asserts that the citizens of Tennessee should fight back against the political pressure.

"We're seeing this kind of thing more and more across the country as the secularists and progressives are pushing their godless agenda into our education system and corporate America," Graham added. "I know the good people of Tennessee don't go along with this nonsense! Maybe Tennesseans ought to write the university and suggest they close this office."

Rickey Hall, the vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, clarified to Fox News that the advisory is not actual university policy but rather just a suggested practice.

"It's not policy. It's about inclusive practice," Hall said. "I reiterate, it's not a mandate, it's not an official policy, it's not a policy from the board. It's about education. We are [a] higher education institution and exposing our students to a lot of different things."

Besides Beavers, other Tennessee lawmakers have spoken out against the university's advisory. Republican state Sen. Paul Bailey posted his disapproval on Facebook.

"First it was eliminating ‪#‎LadyVols‬. Now this? I doubt if parents spending over $15,000 a year expect this kind of nonsense education from the University of Tennessee," Bailey wrote. "My advice would be find something better and more productive to do."

Republican state Sen. Frank Nicely also posted to Facebook saying, "It seems to me the biggest lack of diversity we have at the University of Tennessee is people of common sense."

With the university's advisory being the latest action taken by trans-activists in a long trend of attempts trying to make transgenderism a new norm in American society, nationally syndicated Christian radio host Michael Brown, who's also a guest columnist for The Christian Post, questioned in an op-ed if "the whole world going mad."

"We simply cannot deny reality and obscure (or even try to eliminate) the very thing that makes the world go around, as if anything and everything goes and the only thing that is not allowed to be normal is normal itself," Brown wrote.

"Do we require an entire school to use sign language rather than talk because of the presence of one deaf child? Do we require all the children to learn braille and read with their eyes closed because of one blind student in their classes? Then why is a university calling on students to use gender neutral pronouns?"

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