More Choice in Gender PronounsPosted: October 4, 2011
The New York Times ran this story on Friday: The Freedom to Choose Your Pronoun.
The story, about the recent adoption of “other” as an option beyond “female” and “male” by some institutions and entities (like Google+), focuses on teenagers in a manner that suggests that eschewing the gender binary is the result of rebellion and youthful transformation. This offers a somewhat skewed image of the developments in fluid gender identity and the expansion of preferred gender pronouns (P.G.P.s).
Maybe this isn’t an instance of teenage rebellion. Perhaps this upcoming generation of adults has an understanding of gender that is more nuanced. Haven’t we worked hard to make a more complex understanding of gender possible?
Also, by relegating gender flexibility or gender queerness to the realm of the teen the article calls into question the choices of much older adults who identify themselves as beyond the binary. Are they just rebellious? Immature?
I understand that kids and teens experiment with their identities. They should; it’s important to learning who they are, but this story frames this issue as though it is primarily an issue of teenagers.
I know it’s great that stories like this are making it onto the pages of publications like the NYT, but it saddens me when they seem to be framed in a way that will educate, but not frighten the uninformed readership.