What is the first thing you want to know if someone has a baby? Boy or girl, right? Can you tell me why?
How do you address a stranger on the street? By their gender. Ever did it wrong? How did you feel?
The only alternative for he or she is it. There is no universal way to mention or address someone without using the sex. If you know any culture where that’s possible, please, enlighten me. Even our names, carried as the definition of ourselves, are often sex-specific. Whether you are a boy or a girl at birth has enormous implications even at the very instant, while the differences only become relevant years later. Our gender precedes us! We are conditioned to the bone.
Imagine the impact on our mind. As soon as we familiarize with conceptual thought, we have to get used to the fact that we are undeniably different than half of the people in our lives. Our belief in this split goes deep: at some point, all of us have to prove that we are the man or the woman that we are. For status and satisfaction.
I’m not calling men and women equal, I’m merely wondering how deep this division goes. Every time I interact with an unknown, I am reminded about my sex. What if there was a neutral way to address a person? On the street, in a letter, on the phone? What if addressing people neutrally was mainstream? In a world with asexual words, would a boy still be a boy, and a girl a girl?
The division between men and women is not as fundamental as we are making it seem. While I leave the assessment of the severeness of this global psychosis up to you, I note that I am not the only one who would feel for solving the misconception. The abbreviation Mrx. has been brought up. Nobody knows how to pronounce it, let alone if it is legit to use, but it exists. Gender-neutral language is being developed as a set of ways to avoid the box. Gender-role transcendence, gay marriage and androgyny more popular than ever. The movement is as fragile as it’s young, but it gives a hint.
I think we need that word.