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download the full report now sparks & honey culture forecast THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER BINARY TO BLURRED
download the full report now “People need to be willing to let go of what they think they know about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.” – LAVERNE COX THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER download the full report now iii BINARY TO BLURRED Language matters Gender used to be viewed through binary terms: male and female, masculine and feminine. The new language of gender breaks out of that binary system in favor of blurred, fluid identities across a gender spectrum. To be culturally literate now demands knowing how to speak the new language of gender and knowing the difference between terms like sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. To be culturally literate means knowing how to speak the new language of gender Transgender and genderqueer people have shifted culture away from the idea of rigid binary genders, and the implications are massive. Almost everything is gendered somehow. How will the worlds of law, politics, media, tech, marketing and advertising, fashion, design, art, architecture, music, beauty, healthcare, and sports change if the categories of man and woman are deconstructed or eliminated altogether? This report is a guide through the new language of gender, showing you how to demonstrate that you’re an ally of these gender revolutionaries. We pinpoint ways this cultural shift is already impacting culture – through memes, viral videos, trends, products, and cultural signals that indicate that the gender revolution has arrived. And we’ll show who’s doing it right – and who isn’t. Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
download the full report now THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER iv BINARY TO BLURRED What do we mean by gender? We’re living in an era obsessed with gender. Conversation about transgender people and topics like gender fluidity are part of the air we breathe. Miley Cyrus declared herself gender fluid in 2015. Jaden Smith presented as genderqueer at Coachella wearing a dress with flowers in his hair. Reality television series I Am Jazz debuted on TLC, documenting the ups and downs of 15-year-old transgender teen Jazz Jennings, considered one of the youngest LGBTQ spokespeople ever. “Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed, but socially constructed.” -Judith Butler But what is gender? Gender is the way we express that “boyness” or “girlness” we’re assigned at birth, in ways that either conform with gender norms (societal expectations) – or in ways that subvert them. Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER BINARY TO BLURRED Gender is not the sex we’re assigned at birth, based on things like genitals and XX or XY chromosomes. Gender is also not sexual orientation, or who you desire sexually. You could be a feminine straight man or a hyper-masculine gay man, a masculine straight woman or a high-femme lesbian who wears makeup, high heels and perfume. From the time we’re born, we’re bombarded with cultural messages about how to look and behave as girls or boys. These messages – from parents, school teachers, media – tell us what it means to be a boy or a girl. Boys don’t cry. Real men don’t wear pink. Women shouldn’t swear. Real women have curves. And unless our gender identity or the way we express it matches those gender norms (how society narrowly defines masculinity and femininity), we might feel insecure in our masculinity or femininity. Gender, in other words, is hard work. download the full report now v “The real promise of the transgender movement is not the freedom to figure out ways to become more fully male or fully female, but rather freedom from gender entirely.” –Shannon Gilreath Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
download the full report now THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER vi LGBTQuestioning (and sometimes I) THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER download the full report now vii BINARY TO BLURRED Questioning gender The “Q” in LGBTQI can stand for “queer”, an umbrella term for some or all of the LGBTI categories (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex). It can also stand for “questioning”, meaning that a person is still undecided about which category, or categories, they identify with. The consciousness and dialogue about gender identity has landed squarely in mainstream pop culture as Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, Lily Rose Depp, and Ruby Rose spark new conversations in the media and at home. The internet has exploded with discussions about a dizzying and ever-expanding list of gender identities beyond men and women, including agender, bigender and gender fluid. Teenagers on Tumblr are using terms formerly heard only in academic settings – like gender identity, cisgender, and gender norms. People have a choice in their gender identity. The ability to decide which gender identity you have, how you choose to express it, or whether you want to even decide in the first place, is unprecedented. 17 MAJOR AWARDS FOR MEDIA FOCUSING ON TRANSGENDER INDIVUDALS, 2014-15 Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
T V / M OV I E S BOOKS R E TA I L / FA S H I O N B U S I N E SS MEDIA SPO R T S C E LE BR IT IE S M U SIC LAWS/P O LITIC S 1990 Judith Butler releases Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, arguing all gender is socially constructed M ILE STO NE 1990 Documentary Paris Is Burning introduces Harlem drag balls to the world 1969 Police officers raid the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, inciting riots and launching the LGBT rights movement 1952 Christine Jorgensen becomes the first American to transition via sex reassignment surgery and hormone treatments 1960 1994 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert stars drag queens and a transgender person, becomes huge hit 1977 The New York Supreme Court rules that trans woman Renée Richards is eligible to play in the women’s draw at the U.S. Open 1994 MAC Cosmetics makes drag superstar RuPaul spokesmodel 1971 -72 New York Dolls and David Bowie incorporate gender-bending makeup and clothes into their performances 1970 1966 Discrimination and abuse toward transgender people in San Francisco sparks the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot 1999 “Boys Don’t Cry” based on true story of Brandon Teena, murdered in 1993 for being a transgender man 1980 1990 1975 Minneapolis becomes the first U.S. city to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against someone for being transgender 1986 Lou Sullivan founds female to male advocacy and support group FTM International G EN D ER I N P O P ULAR CU LTU RE In just a few decades, transgender and genderqueer identities have moved from the margins to the center of culture. And they're leading the way in how we'll all view and remake gender for decades to come. 2014 Transparent features story of a transwoman and her family coping with her transition 2000 Late ’90s Activists add a “T” to sexualy oriented LGB acronym, turning it into LGBT 1993 Minnesota becomes the first state to legally specify trans civil rights Early ‘90s Kurt Cobain wears dresses while performing 1992 The Crying Game reveals transgender character 2008 Hall-of-fame pro surfer Peter Drouyn transitions to Westerly Windina 2008 Chaz Bono begins transition to his affirmed gender identity 2009 South African runner Caster Semenya subjected to gender testing during the World Championships, is revealed as intersex 2012 Miss Universe opens competition to trans contestants after uproar 2010 2004 First Trans March takes place in San Francisco 2014 Openly transgender Raffi Freedman-Gurspan appointed to White House staff 2014 Martine Rothblatt becomes first transgender CEO of a Fortune 500 company 2014 Trans activist Janet Mock publishes Redefining Realness 2014 One Direction’s Harry Styles says that being female is “not that important”when it comes to what he looks for in a girlfriend 2015 New York City allows trans people to change the gender on their birth certificate 2020 2015 Retailer, Selfridge’s creates Agender, a gender-neutral fashion line 2005 California approves Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act 2015 The first trans fashion line created by and for trans people released by Gogo Graham 2005 The movie Transamerica makes vaginoplasty a household word 2015 Jaden Smith wears dresses and skirts to Coachella and the prom 2013 DSM 5 changes diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria 2013 Orange is the New Black features transgender storylines 2015 Lily Rose Depp comes out as sexually fluid 2015 Miley Cyrus says she’s gender fluid and sexually fluid 2015 Time Magazine puts Laverne Cox on their cover 2015 Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair Cover Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER download the full report now ix BINARY TO BLURRED Be an ally An ally is someone who supports people who are transgender or gender nonconforming, and whose efforts are intended to become a model for the culture at large. Allies know that language shapes the way we view gender, so they’re careful to use someone’s preferred gender pronouns and to avoid saying things like “sex change” for “transition” or “born a boy” for “assigned male at birth.” An ally also knows not to police someone’s gender. They’re not going to try to figure out what gender someone is, judge them for how they look, or keep them from the locker room or bathroom of their choice. And a cisgender ally (see p. 18) knows their privilege in this world and understands that, unlike someone who is transgender, they move through the world with relative ease. An ally knows not to police someone’s gender Jill Soloway, who wrote the award-winning Amazon comedy-drama Transparent, is an ally. The series is based on her parent Carrie, who told her family she was transgender. When Soloway won an Emmy for Outstanding Director For a Comedy Series, she used her platform to advocate on behalf of trans people and urged them to vote for a trans equality bill. She was also careful about using her parent’s post-transition name, and shared with the audience her new way of calling out Carrie: “Mapa”, a mashup of mama and papa. Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
download the full report now THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER BINARY TO BLURRED Piers Morgan, the English talk show host with progressive leanings, although well-intentioned, balked at having to learn the new language of gender. Morgan invited trans activist Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness, to be a guest on his show. He promoted the show with sensationalized tweets that repeatedly described Mock as “born a boy” and asked straight male viewers how they’d feel if someone they dated “was formerly a man”. Mock was rightfully offended. But rather than try to understand why the language he used about her was as important as his intent to be an ally, Morgan complained that she wasn’t grateful for the spotlight and was trying to create controversy. x “My Mapa could, tomorrow, go and try to find an apartment and in 32 states, it would be legal for the landlord to look her in the eye and say ‘we don’t rent to trans people.’” -Jill Soloway Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER download the full report now xi The binary is melting away THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
THE NEW LANGUAGE OF GENDER download the full report now xii BINARY TO BLURRED Talking about gender Like gender, the way we talk about it is evolving, making it a challenge to have a conversation without feeling like you’re saying the wrong thing. People are struggling to get the language right, to refer to a transgender person with their preferred gender pronouns, or to not “dead name” them (see p. 25). And even among trans and genderqueer people, there is no clear consensus about what the appropriate terminology is or isn’t. The new language of gender is a living language, because the people it describes are living it and defining it as they go. Learning it may feel difficult and awkward at first, and you’re bound to make mistakes. But to be culturally literate and relevant now demands speaking the new language of gender – even if it’s with a distinct, cisgender accent. The following terms will help you navigate The New Language of Gender. They’re the most current, charged, and tuned-in words that will get you situated in the new landscape. These are the most current, charged, and tuned-in words that will get you situated in the new landscape Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
Embryo Stage TWO DISTINCT SEX CHROMOSOMES XY SEX CHROMOSOME VARIATIONS GENETICS AND BIOLOGICAL SPECTRUM SAME KIND OF SEX CHROMOSOME Anatomical sex involves both what’s visible (outer genitals) and what’s only visible through blood work (sex chromosomes), surgery or MRIs (internal sex glands and organs). We still associate biological sex with genitals, although that’s only part of the story. XX Monosomy: Turner syndrome (45,X) Trisomy: Klinefelter syndrome (47,XXY) 48,XXYY 48,XXXY 49,XXXYY 49,XXXXY Triple X syndrome (47,XXX) 48,XXXX 49,XXXXX 47,XYY 48,XYYY 49,XYYYY You’re assigned a sex ASSIGNED AFFIRMED THE JOURNE Y TO GENDER Each of us is assigned a sex at birth, and at some point in our lives we decide that we’re either comfortable or not comfortable in our assigned gender. For cisgender people, assigned sex and gender identity more or less align, but for transgender and genderqueer people, the road to affirming gender is trickier. BOY BINARY SEX Intersex A doctor assigns us a sex when we are born. Even the one in 1,000 intersex children who are born are often assigned a sex regardless of the signs their bodies aren’t unambiguously male or female. GIRL Do you identify with your assigned gender? NO NOT EXACTLY TRANSGENDER YES GENDERQUEER GENDER SPECTRUM People no longer have to identify as men or women if those categories don’t suit them. Cisgender and transgender people tend to have one gender identity, male or female, while broader categories like genderqueer or gender nonconforming fall somewhere on a spectrum. CISGENDER What gender do you identify with? NO GENDER NOT SURE IT DEPENDS BOTH AGENDER GENDER QUESTIONING GENDER FLUID etc BIGENDER Who are you sexually attracted to? Are you SAME SEX OPPOSITE SEX SEXUALITY SPECTRUM Sexual orientation is often confused with gender. Separate, though interrelated, sex and gender are uniqely complex ways in which we identify ourselves and our desires. QUEER NOT SURE NO ONE NOT STRAIGHT, UNSPECIFIED QUESTIONING ASEXUAL BOTH SEXES FEMALE STRAIGHT MALE BISEXUAL Lesbian, High Femme Low Femme, Soft Butch, Butch, Boi Gay, Masc, Fem Copyright © 2015 sparks & honey. All rights reserved.
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