Is it necessary to get rid of heteronormative language?

I know it’s nearly Christmas and I wasn’t planning on writing something this heavy, but I think it’s something that needs to be said – again.

Is this really necessary? According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian government workers are being told not to use cis – hetero – normative language, particularly around LGBTQ+ clients. OK, I’m cis – gender. I have never questioned or struggled with my gender identity, so I’d like to hear some views from trans and gender – diverse people about this. Is it really necessary for people to avoid cis – hetero – normative language around you? I mean, sure, it’d probably help if they don’t assume, but is it possible for you just to say “actually I prefer the pronoun X”. Also, when dealing with LGBTQ+ couples, just use a gender – neutral noun like “partner” or another term the couple themselves prefer. Is that so hard?

In regard to relationships, in Australia, marriage is still legally defined as between one man and one woman. I have heard of some parents, other family and friends of LGBTQ+ people blocking their ears at marriage ceremonies in protest of the current definition of marriage in Australia as celebrants are mandated by law to state the current legal definition. I sort of understand that. The issue of same – sex marriage is very real and personal for many people in the LGBTQ+ community and allies. I get that. But I don’t see how adjusting language completely will help combat homophobia and trans – phobia or fight for change in marriage laws. In fact, as I’ve said many times before, I think it’ll end up backfiring on the LGBTQ+ community – even if (when?) –  same – sex marriage is legal.

 

But I wonder whether it goes deeper than that. Is it still treating LGBTQ+ people like “the other”, so to speak? Does it help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community to have bureaucrats to impose an acceptable standard on the rest of society when it comes to simply interacting with the LGBTQ+ community. Shouldn’t we be able to speak up for ourselves? Can’t we say, “this is my partner” or “I prefer the pronoun ze, hir, or they?”. Or even for some asexual/ aromantic people, “this is my queer – platonic partner”?

In the aftermath of the Trump victory in the US, Brexit and the rise of One Nation here, one thing is made abundantly clear – people are tired of being ignored, being lectured at and having bureaucrats dictate what is acceptable. People are tired of feeling guilty and walking on egg shells. Stand up for your rights and the rights of others, by all means. But what is happening now isn’t working. Or, it may seem like it’s working now, but don’t be surprised when people continue to rise in revolt – possibly leaving the people that are meant to be protected even more vulnerable.

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2 comments on “Is it necessary to get rid of heteronormative language?

  1. socalkdl says:

    I think we are in a formative stage in recognition of non-binary sexuality. I think back to the 1960’s America when, as a White teen I felt so awkward around Blacks. The ground rules were shifting and I wasn’t quite sure how to interact without inadvertently offending. Time is needed to sort things out. Just a few weeks ago I opened the door at work for a couple of guys I didn’t know, saying “let me get the door for you guys.” As I walked away a sudden doubt hit me. One of the guys had a remarkably smooth face, no signs of stubble and long hair in a bun. But the body of a body-builder, bulging biceps, barrel chest. It didn’t help that he or she was of Islander descent and dressed in loose men’s jeans and t shirt. I asked around, and yep, he was a she! It was an honest mistake. The important thing about this period of time is how we deal with each other not the pronouns used.

    • S. says:

      Interesting story. Thanks forc sharing it! I never thought about ways how different cultures express gender so, that was great food forcthought! Thank you for sharing!

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