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