Saturday, 21 May 2011

New Page: A note on gender inclusiveness

Some members of the feminist blogosphere have a tendency to speak about feminist issues in terms of women only. This is incorrect and is something we need to be aware of.

Using solely 'female' rems and pronouns to discuss things like reproductive rights is incredibly erasing of members of the trans*(see explanation below*) and non-binary community. Here's a quick 101 on cissexism and the trans* community.


'Cisgender' refers to people who describe themselves according to the traditional male/female gender binary and were assigned the correct gender at birth. Cisgender people can be gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual etc.


Transgender refers to those who were assigned an incorrect gender at birth, for example a MAAB (male assigned at birth) trans woman was assigned the male gender at birth, by virtue of having 'male' genitalia.


Non-binary or genderqueer refers to those who do not identify with the male/female binary at all. A set of pronouns has been developed so that non-binary folk can be referred to without the grammatical acrobatics involved in using words like 'them/their.'

Non-binary pronouns

Ze - in the place of he/she/him/her
Zir/Hir - in the place of his/her

These are also useful when you don't know the gender or pronouns applicable to someone, perhaps on a blog or forum.

If in doubt, the best thing to do is ask how someone prefers to be referred to.

Keeping all of this in mind, we must remember that trans* men and genderqueer folk can be pregnant, can have abortions, etc, wo we should be very careful to avoid using terminology which excludes and erases them.

*The asterix after 'trans*' ensures that all members of the community are included: transgender, transsexual, transvestite etc.

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