As they say, ne­ces­sity is the mother of all in­ven­tion. (Oh... can I still say that?)...

Dubbo Photo News - - Dubbo Weekender - Yvette Aubus­son­fo­ley

WARN­ING: read­ing this ar­ti­cle may con­fuse you.

Speak­ing gen­der specif­i­cally, hav­ing an iden­tity cri­sis is the new black.

Which only adds to your prob­lems be­cause al­legedly you can’t say black any­more. It’s a po­lit­i­cally loaded colour, so, the black sheep of the fam­ily now has to be the rain­bow sheep, but that could in­fer that they’re LGBTQI, which they may or may not be, be­cause if they’re fluid, trans or bi­cu­ri­ous, that may not be a neu­tral way of re­fer­ring to them and therein lies a whole other buf­fet of prob­lems, which cis­gen­der peo­ple, ap­par­ently, just don’t ex­pe­ri­ence.

Un­til you fin­ished read­ing that sen­tence...

I just found out this week I’m cis­gen­der.

That means when I was born a fe­male and the doc­tors, nurses, my par­ents, brother, and all their friends around me, al­lo­cated me pink booties and bal­let classes be­cause my gen­der was as­signed ‘girl’ at birth – they hap­pened to get it right. I am fe­male.

The gen­der-neu­tral ar­gu­ment, how­ever, as­sumes just be­cause we look like a girl or a boy doesn’t mean we will grow up iden­ti­fy­ing as ei­ther, and hence the trend to­ward gen­der neu­tral­ity which wants gen­der ref­er­ences to be in­clu­sive for ev­ery­one, no mat­ter what flavour ice-cream you are.

If you’re over 25, you’re prob­a­bly bliss­fully un­aware of the ex­tent of the groundswel­l of change that is hap­pen­ing to the English lan­guage, so head­lines about schools ban­ning the use of ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ will nat­u­rally shock the big boy undies clean off your gen­der bias.

(As a par­ent of 19 years, how­ever, who has heard the word ‘maar­rrmm!!!’ well over 72,415,604 times, I find I ac­tu­ally have no ob­jec­tions to that idea.)

How­ever, it may seem over the top to cis­gen­ders... ‘gen­derly’ speak­ing.

You how­ever have it the eas­i­est. Be­ing born on the right side of a so­cial sys­tem which di­vides us all into two gen­ders (where ‘all men are equal’) then ev­ery­thing’s set up for you very neatly, giv­ing you boy and girl loos, boy and girl clothes, and things like boy and girls rates of pay.

It seems, though, cis­gen­der types have al­ready joined ranks with gen­der-neu­tral folk in the quest for fair and in­clu­sive lan­guage.

Re­mem­ber when we talked about hu­mankind but ac­tu­ally said ‘mankind’.

Chicks and chil­dren just wanted to be in­cluded on the ticket.

So, what’s the gen­der fu­ture look­ing like?

Do we need a third loo? To cis­gen­ders, a ‘trans’ ap­pears to be a man (wrong), and if an ap­par­ent man in a woman’s dress walks into a women’s toi­let, what’s the re­cep­tion go­ing to be like. Hey, you’re wel­come? Or, hey, you’re un­der ar­rest.

As they say, ne­ces­sity is the mother of all in­ven­tion. (Oh... can I still say that?)

Just as the ladies fleshed out from no-man’s land a ‘Ms’, to slot neatly be­tween ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’, the search is on for some­thing to slot in be­tween ‘he’ and ‘she’ where ‘he’ and ‘she’ don’t fit.

Q. Third-per­son pro­noun where are you?

A. Not Fin­land. They have no way to ex­press gen­der with pro­nouns at all.

So, what about a noun in­stead. Per­son­ally I think we al­ready have a noun that’s uniquely Aus­tralian and could eas­ily be ap­plied to gen­der neu­tral peo­ple.

Mate.

It’s friendly, in­clu­sive, and ground­ing. A no-frills so­lu­tion which slots neatly in be­tween ‘he’ and ‘she’.

For se­niors who are gen­der-neu­tral, we could call them ‘old mate’.

Now that’s sorted, I also just found out this week my 24-year mar­riage is a bi­nary re­la­tion­ship. Me: a woman, who’s a woman, mar­ried to a man, who’s a man, and the new code word for that is ‘bi­nary’.

Who’s the 1 and who’s the zero? Don’t even go there. ■

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