With more people, especially those who are younger, ditching
traditional gender identities, advocates are working to change the
language and hope that in the process, more understanding will result.
Generally speaking, when a person is born, they are assigned a gender,
male or female, based on their anatomy. While the majority of people
accept the gender that was assigned to them at birth, some opt to change
their gender identity. Others don’t feel they can identify themselves with
either gender, and are known broadly as gender non-conforming.
Phil Crawford, 52, identifies as cis (a person whose experience of their
own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth). He is the
father of Lux, a gender non-conforming person. Crawford was in San
Francisco last week to put the gender issue in the spotlight, making it a
subject for people to discuss, and advocating for the possibility of
changing the language around gender.
Crawford is a straight married man who often finds it hard to get used to
calling his own kid by the right pronouns, but he is making an effort to
speak correctly and he advocates for others to do the same.
In a meeting room at the Women’s Building in San Francisco on a sunny
Saturday afternoon, Bay Area Humanists welcomed Crawford to talk
about his experience as the father of a gender non-conforming person.
Among the small audience of about 10 there were gay, lesbian, and
straight identified people who listened carefully as Crawford spoke
about his own kid. Lux was not in attendance.
While many in the audience were understanding, there were people who
raised questions about today’s language and society. They pointed out
that making new rules would require making a new social contract that
would involve understanding the gender-neutral identity issue.
One man who said he was 59 years old said that he did not know how to
drop “he” and “she” from his vocabulary and worried about upsetting
someone by using the wrong pronoun.
Crawford acknowledged that pronoun use is one of the trickier issues
with gender non-conforming people.