SOMEONE’S GENDER IS WHAT THEY SAY IT IS
NOT WHAT’S ON THEIR PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION OR WHAT THEIR GENITALS INDICATE
i bought a copy of the canadian press stylebook today, and started flicking through it on the streetcar ride home. (we’ve already been studying CP style in class, but i like the immediacy of having it in book form. am i weird?)
i have to say, i’m really impressed with CP’s policies on things like race, gender, and sexual orientation. they’re very progressive for a national institution.
there are actually specific rules that say you shouldn’t mention someone’s ethnicity, gender identification, or sexual orientation unless it’s relevant to the story. and when it is relevant, they tell you to check with the person about the specific terminology they prefer to use (e.g. black vs. african-canadian, gay vs. queer, transgender vs. transsexual) and then use those terms, unless they’re needlessly offensive (e.g. faggot).
we had a senior CP editor come in yesterday to talk to us about CP in general, and he told us that one of the major issues they’re debating for the next edition of the stylebook is whether the singular “they” should be allowed in cases where an individual is trans (or genderqueer, etc.) and “they” is their preferred pronoun. apparently this is a big point of debate at CP right now but it’s looking like it’s going to happen.
regardless, in the 2010 edition i bought today, it says, “use a term the person in question uses (explain if necessary) and a pronoun consistent with how they live.”
you just know i’m going to do a story one day where i interview people who use gender-neutral pronouns like “ze,” and CP is gonna be totally cool with that. AWESOME. i love canada!
my photo tribute to Coming Out Day in 2008.
Did you ever feel like you had to alter some small part of yourself to fit in better, or to protect yourself?
Can you imagine what it’d be like to feel that on a much larger scale, every day of your life?
Everywhere you go, with everyone you talk to, try to establish an environment in which it is safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or otherwise queer people to come out. You can never truly know who is sitting in a closet waiting for permission to step outside.