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I'm surprised that this issue hasn't been brought up before. Currently, there are 4 gender options for this website: Male, female, blank and not telling. I.e. basically only 2. It's 2016! Why are the gendered options so limited? Facebook has 58 genders. New York City recognizes 31 genders. I think that either the number of gender options should be greatly expanded, or the site allows people to type in some text to describe their gender, rather than choose from a limited list of options. Also, some websites distinguish between gender identity, gender expression, phenotypical sex, genetic sex and sexual orientation. So that may be worth looking into.
This thread is to discuss making English and French (and maybe other languages) to be more gender neutral in order to help avoid confusion, be more convenient and to be more inclusive. Right now in English it is very inconvenient to always write things like him/her, she/he, etc. and many aspects of our language are unnecessarily gendered (policeman, mankind, even the fact that woman is two syllables and contains the word man is arguably not gender neutral). Not only is it inconvenient, but it creates confusion when addressing people with ambiguous or unknown gender. The current situation isn't very inclusive of gender non-binary individuals. I made a poll for preferred English gender neutral pronouns; please select your preferred option. There have been many attempts to construct gender neutral pronouns for English, although none of the options are commonplace currently. You can read about the justification for different gender neutral pronouns here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-specific_and_gender-neutral_pronouns#Summary. In many cases, moving towards gender neutral language is relatively straightforward (usage of police officer instead of policeman, usage of humanity instead of mankind, etc.). However in other cases it is less straightforward. The words woman and female contain man and male and are two syllables rather than 1. This arguably subconsciously gender conditions people to think that women are secondary to men or that women are less convenient then men. Maybe use something like fem for female or woman (which would be similar to the french word femme and would be just as compact as man). With respect to how to move society to more gender neutral words, I suggest getting enough support to elect a government that favours gender neutral language and wants to legislate gender neutral language as acceptable English in government institutions. However, don't force people to use gender neutral words if they don't want to (since that is authoritarian and will turn people off), simply make it an acceptable option for those that wish to (it will also help that there is a common standard for gender neutral language). Over time people will use gender neutral words in situations where it makes sense. French is even worse. The language is intrinsically more sexist than English. It contains gender associations everywhere by assigning genders to nouns that should have nothing to do with gender, be it le stylo, l'honneur, la lâcheté, la porte, etc. Not only that, but feminine endings are generally longer than male endings, which subconsciously suggests to the user of the language that women are secondary and inconvenient. Then you have cases where ils is used to describe a group of males and females as well as il being used to describe the state of the world such as il pleut. This again suggests that maleness is the norm and females are secondary. There are ways to make french more gender neutral. For example, getting rid of female word endings, replacing le and la with lo (which is linguistically between le and la) and using words like on instead of il or elle. Modifying french to be more gender neutral not only has the advantages I mentioned for English, but also makes the language easier to learn for non-Francophones, which means that there will be more people able to speak French. I'll end this post by providing a random link to someone's suggestion on how to make French more gender neutral. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4186240
Race ? Sexual preference ? Gender ? What would you choose ? Some on another thread were insulted by Shady's statement that nobody would choose to be gay, however given that you can't choose the natural state of these things, strictly speaking, I think I agree with him. But it's a comment on the discrimination that people face based on these classifications, nothing more. I just saw Larry Wilmore on the Nightly Show ask a panel of black women which they would choose to be and the respondent answered and reaffirmed that she'd be a white man, because she has to do "twice as much to get half the reward". Yes... white, straight, male. I feel lucky and privileged. How about you ?