• Zev (left) hands their plate to Arielle. Zev's summer camp is pioneering a form of gender neutral Hebrew. (Washington Post, Getty Images)Source: Washington Post, Getty Images
An American summer camp is altering traditionally gendered Hebrew words to be inclusive of genderqueer and trans kids.
By
Ben Winsor

15 Aug 2016 - 10:59 AM  UPDATED 15 Aug 2016 - 10:59 AM

Habonim Dror, a left-wing zionist youth group, operates seven summer camps across North America. 

This summer, the camps are planning to pioneer a change to the Hebrew language to help transgender kids feel more comfortable, Julie Zauzmer for the Washington Post reports

Traditionally, Hebrew nouns are inherently gendered, for example, Chanich means male camper and chanichah means female camper.

To solve that, Habonim Dror created a third gender version, chanichol

The new suffix, ‘ol’, is based on the Hebrew word ‘kol’, meaning ‘all’.

“It really reinforces the impact of summer camp as a safe space,” Sara Zebovitz, the North America director for Habonim Dror, told the Washington Post. “Camp has always made it okay to say, ‘I can be myself here’.”

Plural nouns to describe mixed groups have also been altered to become gender neutral, where they previously used a masculine word-ending. 

The masculine suffice of ‘im’ has been blended with the feminine suffix of ‘ot’ to produce the mixed suffix of ‘imot’.

Zee, a 14-year-old camper who identifies as neither male nor female, told the Washington Post that people were accepting, but that fellow campers were still learning. 

“They really suck at remembering and using my correct pronouns all the time,” Zev said.

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