In India, college students have added a few words to their vocabulary that can be used to talk with each other without referring to any genders, a trend that Generation Z has started. According to them, using these terms helps students, who do not identify as either male or female, also known as non-binary, feel included.
Along with the standard titles ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs./Ms.’, they have also started using a neutral title called ‘Mx’. People often use this prefix to greet someone, who does not want to be addressed as male or female, formally. Gen Z students also enjoy using these terms because it is the new cool way for them to accept and promote gender awareness.
People who don't identify as male or female, both students and teachers, like being addressed by these phrases and titles.
According to a faculty member, though the majority of the teachers do not mind students using these terms, they also find it a tad unprofessional for these terms to be used formally. "Now-a-days people use so many pronouns, so keeping it gender neutral is easier for the person who is speaking to a crowd. But sadly in our country, students don't actually know about all the genders but they are eager to make changes. I personally think it is a personal choice to use these terms but one should remember to be professional on campus and respect everyone's choice", said Vishakha Ratnaparakhi, a faculty teacher at the Pillai College of Arts, Commerce and Science on this trend.
To talk about a group of friends, they often use slang words like ‘Folks', ‘Folx', ‘Fam’, ‘Homies’, ‘Team', considering terms like ‘guys’ and 'girls’, are found to be outdated, rude and offensive these days. Instead of ‘hey guys’ or ‘ladies and gentlemen’, ‘hey everyone’, ‘hello mates’ and ‘hey team’ are preferred more among students.
When city college-goers were asked why they like to use these words instead of the more common ones, most of them said it's because they found the vocabulary cool and doesn’t offend anyone, while making the campus more fun and lively.
Asif Supariwala from Thakur College of Science and commerce said, "It is great to see these terms being used and for me personally this sounds great."
Ria Mehra from Sophia College quoted, "I think it's a Gen Z world. Coming up with new terms and using them in right context is always cool."
The students not only use neutral language, but also choose clothes accordingly. This trend began with students in the US and has since spread around the world thanks to the internet.
In a candid chat with more than 50 students across five colleges majority of them agreed to using the terms like 'pal', 'fam' and others in and out of college campus.
"It should be used and it should have become a trend long back.", said Vidhi Shah from KES Shroff college.
Aishwariya Shukla from Narsee Monjee college also supported this trend and said, "I love such trends that also remind us to be humble and accepting to everyone. For me it is very fun to use these terms as the old ones had become quite outdated."
While some students strongly believe that these terms should be adapted by everyone, some think it is a matter of personal choice.
Shreya Desai from Thakur College of Science and Commerce also commented, "I think the Gen Z has adapted to the words 'Homies' and 'Folks'. Also words like 'ladies' and 'gentlemen' feel outdated."
"It doesn't matter, use it if you want to or don't if you don't want to but no one should be penalized for not using it", asserted Vishal Jha from Saraswati Vidyalaya High School & Junior College.