Thursday, October 6, 2016

The singular "they" and breaking the binary

    All this talk of non-binary gender identities and gender non-conforming identities bring about a lot of hate, naturally. What is need to know is that sex(sex organs, male, female, etc.) and gender(gender identity) are mutually exclusive of each other. Are there correlations? of course, are they the same thing? NO. Plain and simple. People who are gender non-conforming are just that, they do not identify with either of the two most popularity known genders therefore instead of "he" or "She" those who are gender non-confoming use the pronoun "They".

     Besides being oppressive and enforcing the now proven to not be true idea that gender and sex are the same thing, people are using grammar and the english language as an excuse to not respect the pronouns of others and ultimately their identities. "They" is often use to describe multiple people, it is only used in a singular sense when discussing someone who's gender identity you do not know. We actually use the singular "they" all of the time. But when it is mixed in with a proper noun, the name of the person you are speaking about, is when it gets confusing. It seems there is no need for the singular they in this sense because you can already identify this person, but when you really think about it you can't.

     Now I believe the way we use language should be they way I personally address "sexuality"/"sexual orientation". If the person has not told you their identity, you do not know it and you should not assume. If someone has brought their gender identity to your attention, you should respect that. It is like their name and it should be that simple. It is dehumanizing and disrespectful to minimize somebody's identity to your own preferred way to use words, especially when defending a language in which the words rough, dough, and cough do not even rhyme.

   But let's take a shift, language is key but so is appearance. Clothing is divided by gender and how we dress often influences other people to assume our genders. BuzzFeed recently created a short video interviewing people who's personal styles "Gender-bend". One of my friends and founder of "Paint and Poetry" Mojo Disco is featured in this video as well and I appreciate it very much.

Dressing Beyond The Binary

Dressing Beyond The Binary

Posted by BuzzFeed LGBT on Thursday, October 6, 2016
  I work in retail so this video resonates with me a lot because I always imagine a world where there are no women's nor men's departments in clothing stores. One day I had a customer ask me about sweaters and flannels shirts for her sister who is androgynous. I took her over to what was our sweater shop at the time and she didn't seem enthused, she then told me that's she's looking for something that is more like Men's clothing. So I said, you could check out the Men's section and she replied "I didn't even think of that, thanks!" I find this encounter to be funny. Clothes don't have gender. I do understand when men are discouraged when a certain item is only available in the women's department because it may not come in a big enough size for them. But truthfully clothes do not have gender, they are not boy clothes or girl clothes, if you buy items and put them on your body they're your clothes.

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