Gender is the water we swim in every day. Gender is so integrated into our cultures and our social systems, it’s easy to forget (or miss) that it is a concept invented by people. Personally, I didn’t understand the difference between sex and gender until I was in my 20’s. Looking back, it seems like this should have been taught as a basic concept back in elementary school.
Many of our assumptions about people, places, and things are based on perceived gender or gender association. Everything from how we style our hair, to what couch we buy to what career we chose. Unless it’s something that is actually relevant to breastfeeding, menstruating, giving birth, having a penis, having a vagina, or having a deep voice, then it has nothing to do with one’s sex and everything to do with gender identity.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a world where the concept of gender doesn’t exist. How would it affect your tastes, your personality, the way other people perceive you?
Language is one factor that keeps us constantly bound by gender expectations. How would your life be affected if everyone used “ze/zer ,” instead of “he/him” and “she/her?”
This declaration has two parts: first, I declare that all people should be educated on the difference between sex and gender at a young age; and second, I declare that we should reflect deeply on the language we use and consider evolving our pronouns to be all-inclusive.
— Diane Olson, Portland, Oregon