Harvard BGLTQ Community: Rejecting Pronouns, Common Sense & Journalistic Standards

Who doesn’t need a little Harvard humor now and then?  As you might know David attended law school there, which my dad has never pronounced any other way than “Hah-vahrd.”

For your weekend enjoyment, it just doesn’t get any better than this kind of political and sexual correctness:

Harvard has appointed Vanidy “Van” Bailey as the College’s first permanent director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. Bailey, the assistant director for education at the University of California, San Diego, will assume the new position on July 16.

The article goes on to explain that Bailey “oversees programs at the BGLTQ Resource Center and advises student organizations.”

But the best part of the entire article is the “correction” at the end of the article:


An earlier version of this article used the pronoun “she” to refer to Vanidy “Van” Bailey, the newly appointed director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. In fact, Bailey prefers not to be referred to by any gendered pronoun.

Read the announcement here, and feel free to welcome her/him to her/his new position in the comments section.  (Though I see the Harvard Crimson has already flagged one comment.  While I have no doubt that a rude remark might have been left under the article, I think the entire piece could easily have been marked as “inappropriate!”)


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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • Kate

    That really only leaves ‘it’ as a possible pronoun, which I’d think was more degrading than him or her. I mean, are they just going to repeat Vanidy Bailey’s name over and over in articles referencing Vanidy Bailey.

    And I have to say that ‘Vanidy’ is a perfect name for this person. It reflects both the vanity of someone objecting to such a ridiculous thing, while showcasing the ignorance of it all with the misspelling of the actual word vanity.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      You are right about that! It is so ludicrous!

  • http://patheos Bob Compton

    What do you expect from Hahvahd? After all, it is the home of oblamer, Kagen, and other such “elite”. “Van” sounds a little too masculine, so maybe a more appropriate nickname would be “Loon”, as in “Crazy as a loon”. An appropriate pronoun could be “it. A half a moustache would be fitting, also.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      I’d expect nothing less! Just glad my husband isn’t as crazy as a loon after graduating from there!

      • Brantley Gasaway

        This swipe at the perceived elitism of “Hahvahd” and those associated with it is rich coming from the evangelical champions of Mitt Romney, who holds not one but two degrees from said institution. Indeed, Nancy, I’m surprised that you didn’t take the opportunity to encourage Mr. Compton to avoid ad hominem attacks and focus on the issue at hand. Even if I often disagree, I usually enjoy reading and respect your and David’s arguments–not to mention those of Tim Dalrymple, who also (gasp!) graduated from Harvard–so I’m disappointed that you would not only engage but even seem to encourage this type of comment.

        • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

          Dear Brantley,

          I love Harvard and many people who attended the prestigious school! However, that doesn’t mean we can’t ridicule the Harvard Crimson when it totally jumps the shark of political correctness. What ad hominem attacks? What is the issue at hand? I’ve written before about people who raise their children without a “gender,” but sometimes a blog post pointing out the insanity is enough.

          • Brantley Gasaway

            Thanks, Nancy. I took your response to Mr. Compton’s comment–which I read as an attack on the people rather than the idea–as an endorsement. Am I persuaded by the idea of gender neutrality? No. But do I want to be dismissive of the people who promote it? No, and I know you don’t either.

            I get it: you don’t expect Vanidy “Van” Bailey to come on your blog and debate the idea. So what is the point of just pointing out something like this and labeling it “insane”? I guess I am not much of a fan of this type of ridicule and see little place for it–though it does serve to rally the troops.

          • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

            Dear Brantley,

            It is important to point out insanity when you see it. I lived in New York, met people who were raising their kids in a “gender neutral” way. These people, of course, are fringe. But when the Harvard Crimson starts doing things like this, it’s right — and good — to shed light on the subject. People need to know this stuff happens because it’s coming your way. Even if you don’t go to Harvard, what is taught there eventually seeps into the culture. I’m simply pointing out the corrosive political correctness in our culture.

            I remember in college, we were taught that the political correctness would simply allow us to “respect” each other more. Of course, that’s not the real purpose of political correctness.

            So pointing that out is not bad. It’s not some sort of ploy to “rally the troops,” which I can tell from your tone is very very bad. :)

  • Zeek

    “She,” “He,” or “It.” masculine, feminine, neuter gender pronouns. Oh, what to use as a “gender-neutral” one?

    I know! Let us take part of each of the present three and create a fourth. Sheit. Pronounced “Shee-yit!” as a proper Texan would, just before spitting a stream of tobacco juice into the dust.

    To think that an ancestor of mine bequeathed 500 real dollars to Harvard College at its founding. The shame!

    (FWIW, nouns and pronouns have “gender.”. People have “sex.” or used to.)

    • GotMullet

      I got your back on this one. SHEE-IT!

      “The party of the first part shall herewith, and hereafter, be referred to as sheit. This, whereas, to expose sheit for what it is.”

  • Sharon

    Personally, what I find more amusing is the double entendre (sp?) of the phrase “assume the new position” used in reference to someone whose title is sexually based.

  • M. Scott Eiland

    The only way they’ll take my gendered pronouns is to delete them from my cold, dead word processor. :-P

  • Ken G.

    I prefer to be addressed as either Sir, Master, M’lord, Your Lordship, Majesty, Your Grace, and “Galactic Overlord.”

    Calling the giblet people “it” is the most reasonable response.

    By the way, this is nothing new: on IRC, over 15 years ago, the radical lesbians were insisting on the use of pronouns like “sie” and “hir” rather than “she” or “her.” I was banned from more than a few servers for ridiculing this idiotic idea of de-gendering pronouns.

    • David French

      Your Grace, as you read of the decay of the pronoun, do you not think “Winter is coming”?

      Your bannerman,
      Ser French

  • Mark

    THe funniest part is when the press release says this “person” will assume the position on July 16. Comedy Gold right there.

  • Mark

    THe funniest part is when the press release says this “person” will assume the position on July 16. Comedy Gold right theree.