I had an amazing awakening last month bought to me courtesy of an amazing, intelligent young person. This young person is part of a movement to change the way that we think about ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’ Most of us tend to think of those terms as interchangeable with sex meaning either male or female and gender meaning the same exact things but, technically, sex refers to a biological state while gender is actually a linguistic concept and includes a state called ‘neuter’ or ‘neutral.’ Sex, the young person pointed out to me simply, is what you have between your legs… gender is what you have between your ears. Gender is how you think of yourself.. and therefore, how you language yourself.
It made sense to me.
As the mother of The Prizzwallers© I struggled for years with how to refer to them. The terms “he” and “she” felt limiting and, for creatures with no discernible genitals, just wrong. Neither, however, was the word, “it,” correct. Prizzwallers weren’t things, they were living (albeit imaginary) things, reflections of us. Thanks to my young friend, I now have a way to refer to my artistic children: zey are what zey are!
Centuries ago, when humanity was just gaining a toehold on this planet, it was imperative that the species procreate. The importance of man and woman uniting to form more eventual men and women was critical to survival. But humanity passed that point some time early in the last century. There are more of us now then the planet can properly support. It seems only natural that the old necessity of two sexes might well branch out to create modifications of sexuality that do not unite to create more people but simply to be together. We don’t need more people.
That most of humanity remains locked in what is essentially a prehistoric mindset is no surprise; it happens all the time. But just because it is currently stuck there does not exclude the possibility – the necessity! – of change. Many of us started out thinking of ourselves as other than what people were ‘calling’ us. I was a pretty hard core “tomboy,” but one that played with dolls. I was dressing like a boy even when I was in college. I was experimenting. Kids do. But when I was young, you had to identify at some point as male or female ensuring that the old stereotype held firm. There’s no need for it anymore.
Let those who want to be boys, be boys; let those who want to be girls be girls; let those who want to be a little bit of both… or nothing at all… be whatever they want. It’s past time for this. And let’s all find a comfortable way – like the zim/zir/zey pronouns – for referring to people, ending the evolution long discrimination between the sexes that is inherent in words like ‘him’ and ‘her.’
It’s time for a gender change!