The Snowflakes Fall On the Ever-Changing Landscape of Gender Language

In our community, we’re all pretty awesome at learning and using new terminology as it evolves, particularly when much of it defines our sexual and/or gender preferences. Relatively few of us identify as cis-gendered, and due to our receptivity to and curiosity for ‘the other’, it’s no surprise there is quite the banquet of non-binary identifiers. The same can’t be said of everyone, though. Non-binary has absolutely made the mainstream, and with it, the mainstream bullshit that goes with it, ie. There is only the binary and anyone trying to avoid it is just trying to get attention via being yet another special snowflake. Right?!

When we did Episode Two of our podcast with Dance Movement Psychotherapist, Frank Farrugia, the conversation around the language of gender got some incredibly positive feedback, and a vast number of our listeners were struck by use of the term ‘post-gender’. For some, it was another new term they were happy to embrace; for others – those who identify with it – there was happy relief in hearing it used and discussed with a wider audience.

So what is post-gender? The dictionary will tell you, and rightly so, that at it’s basics, ‘postgenderism’ means ‘having moved beyond gender, or not any longer gendered’. For Frank it means they ‘do not buy into the gender binary or gender as it exists as a social construct. I consider it in a lot of ways a little bit of a rebellious act. I’m not buying into it (the gender binary)’.

In general, people are really focused on new terms for gender and sexuality simply because that’s what language does – it evolves over the millennia to allow us to express ourselves ever more accurately and authentically. And the English language is a particularly binary one – we don’t even have ‘neutral’ nouns like the Latin-based languages. And it does influence our experience. The breaking down of gender binary absolutely manifests in linguistic changes. Notice how new language that doesn’t threaten the status-quo is so easily accepted; technology is a great example of this, and so is the internet. Several years ago ‘the cloud’ was thing in the sky you watched change in the wind. Now it’s online storage. The human brain is quite capable of taking this new language on, so why the backlash?

Frank explains their reasoning: ‘It’s that people (exploring different gender identifiers) are becoming more articulate. And those who are not are feeling a little left out of the race. I think that the audience who don’t identify with it mostly struggle because they fail to resonate with it. (People) have to be mentally and emotionally open to learning something new’.

There is nothing soft ‘n’ melty about challenging the norms, and living authentically, no matter what word has evolved to describe it. And those trying to devalue the experience of another simply because it’s not theirs will not stay relevant for long. Says Frank, ‘You’ve got to do the work to remain current, and to be inclusive’. And no one likes being left out. Right?!