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ever so slightly obsessed
Hi everyone :) it is modpost oclock at menstrual_cups right now!

Gender neutral language - why do we care?

We've noticed there is a tendency in this community to assume that all members identify as women. This is an understandable assumption to make. However, we'd like to point out that not all members of this community identify as female. There are people in this community who identify as female-to-male transgender, as genderqueer, or as other gender identities other than female. While they do not identify with terms like "woman" or "lady", they still menstruate, and this community is potentially relevant for them.

We say in the userinfo that 'We want people of all ages, genders and confidence levels to feel comfortable here', and we mods feel really strongly about that. We've been told several times over the years that phrases like 'Hi ladies!' make our non female-identified members feel invisible and unwelcome, and that is the last thing we want.

As such, we have two requests:

  1. To everyone - please be mindful that this is a very diverse community, and be respectful of all people who may be reading regardless of gender, sexual orientation, etc. In this context, this means using gender neutral language. So instead of saying, "Thanks, ladies!" something like, "Thanks, everyone!" would be more appropriate.


  2. To the non-female identified members of this community - is there anything that we as moderators (or community members) can do to make menstrual_cups more accommodating? If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment here, you can leave an anonymous one on this post, or please feel free to email us at menstrual_cups at livejournal dot com.


Thanks for your understanding! If you have any questions about why we feel this policy is important, please feel free to (respectfully) ask in the comments.

lintilla and scien

PS if you think this post is about you, don't worry, it isn't :) this issue has come up a lot recently.

Edit: so many comments! If you find long threads difficult to read in this community style, try http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/2439847.html?format=light
Tags: ,
 
Chasechikchasingtides on November 13th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
I don't have any extra advice to give, but, as a transmasculine non-binary identifying dude-like person, that you do it at all means a lot.
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
I'm glad it does. :) Please let us know if you ever feel uncomfortable here or whatnot.
i_revolti_revolt on November 13th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this!
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
No problems! :)
eneumanneneumann on November 13th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this.
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
nightchild01nightchild01 on November 13th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
=) This post makes me smile.
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
Yay! :)
m03m on November 14th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
Actually, some of us women aren't too fond of the term 'ladies', either.
fee_parisienne on November 14th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!
(no subject) - scien on November 14th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on November 14th, 2010 10:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tearsandhoney on November 14th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lostchild03 on September 17th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tisiphone on September 17th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Katrinakatrina_splat on November 14th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for doing this.
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
No worries. :) It's an important issue!
organicchef on November 14th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Just a question for clarification, since we don't want to say the wrong thing. I see how "women" and "ladies" etc can be ostracizing and uncomfortable who don't identify as such, but is "female" non-PC? I consider the word female to refer to a being who has female genitalia and biologic functions (e.g., menstruation), and having nothing to do with gender identity or personality. Are we to refrain from using "female" vocabulary as well? If so, how do we refer to persons who have vaginas and menstruate?

I ask out of curiosity, with a desire to use the appropriate language, with absolutely no offense intended. I do not know anyone personally who is either transgender, or with female anatomy but otherwise not a woman, with whom I can ask these questions, so I ask you all here.
m03m on November 14th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
I consider the word female to refer to a being who has female genitalia and biologic functions (e.g., menstruation)

I share this point of view, but I have to warn you that I'm hopelessly foreign, probably *very* un-PC and you don't want to be seen with me.

I'd think that this community is about body parts and the nifty stuff we can buy for them, and therefore 'female' refers to body parts that are traditionally associated with bodies that are generally referred to as 'female', but what do I know.

On the other hand, it's likely that there are people in this world who get sad when anyone links uteruses and vaginae with being female in any shape or form, and do we want to make people sad if we can help it? I generally don't.

(Please don't mind me, it's very late and I'm slightly drunk. Just start reading at 'do we want to make' and ignore the rest, plz. Thanks!)
(no subject) - scien on November 14th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m03m on November 14th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 14th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m03m on November 14th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - castalianspring on November 14th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - m03m on November 14th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - castalianspring on November 14th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 14th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sladdis on November 14th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 14th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - knittinggoddess on November 14th, 2010 06:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bekki2308 on November 14th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - knittinggoddess on November 16th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on November 16th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bekki2308 on November 16th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on November 16th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - happytree923 on November 15th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 15th, 2010 06:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - happytree923 on November 15th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - belle_cf on November 16th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zerobabies on November 15th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - knittinggoddess on November 16th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bar100 on November 15th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on November 15th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
A beautiful sentiment and progressive precedent - maile304 on January 9th, 2012 05:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
death_by_wasabideath_by_wasabi on November 14th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
As a GQ person, just wanted to say thanks. :)
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for your understanding, guys! I've been told that I should come reap some thanks, as I wrote the first draft of the post... ;)

This is with my mod hat firmly on the ground, but I know that there are probably some of you sitting back there saying, "Oh, jeez, political correctness has reached a new low." If you are one of those people, I encourage you to read this and this with an open mind.

With my mod hat on, though, the main point is to have a community where all people who need it can feel respected and included. Thanks to all for your efforts to make it so!
ever so slightly obsessedscien on November 14th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
And http://nnhs-gsa.org/transwhat/ is an excellent site for general information.
(no subject) - lintilla on November 14th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - silverback_les on March 23rd, 2011 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lintilla on March 23rd, 2011 07:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on March 23rd, 2011 08:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - silverback_les on March 23rd, 2011 11:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on March 26th, 2011 11:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
Carolinemiriyaayanne on November 14th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks mods :D As a anti-binary person, for all that I'm female-identified (if not exactly feminine-identified, mind) and therefore can "fit in" in the supposed binary, I really appreciate this :) Makes me happy when people keep this in mind. The gendering of pretty much everything makes me pretty uncomfortable, and annoyed. So thanks!

Next point, sort of related: Can we make things not pink? I really don't like pink >_>
a DJ who lived in seclusionknittinggoddess on November 14th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
That's totally related! Menstrual products are often branded so pink anyway; a little color adjustment would be a nice change. How about green, for the eco conscious aspect?

I love pink in a way I never did as a child, but I still agree with you here.
(no subject) - scien on November 14th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miriyaayanne on November 14th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on November 14th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
femininewearfemininewear on November 14th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
This is a great and very well written post. It is a difficult subject to write about without offending anyone.
Several of my customers are transgender and one emailed about discretion and the packaging, etc.
One thing, though, has anyone complained about the language used? I just feel that if I was a man and wanted to live my life as a woman I would like to be referred to in female terms.
And my business name! Great.
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
We have had a couple... not complaints, per se, but flags raised, if that makes sense.
(no subject) - scien on November 15th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melissa569 on November 15th, 2010 09:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - knittinggoddess on November 16th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
bar100bar100 on November 14th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
question
Thank you very much for bringing this issue to my attention. I would not want to offend any member of this community.
As a native Hebrew speaker I do have a question. I am asking out of curiosity, I don't mean to be disrespectful in any way.
In Hebrew there is no "gender neutral language". Every object is either male or female and this includes even objects that are not humans, animals or plants.
So even the term "Hi everybody" or "Hi cup users" can be phrased either in a masculine or in a feminine form. For a mixed audience the masculine form is usually used, unless the audience has a clear female majority. But if i would translate this website, it does seem strange to use the masculine form.
So would that make non female-identified members feel invisible and unwelcome?
Dina Clarelintilla on November 14th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: question
Interesting!

Considering the nature of the English language and the great amount of baggage a lot of people have around masculine pronouns, though, I don't think it would be entirely appropriate in this instance. But thanks for your suggestion! :)
Re: question - scien on November 14th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: question - bar100 on November 15th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: question - bar100 on November 15th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: question - knittinggoddess on November 16th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: question - bar100 on November 16th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: question - also_warriors on February 22nd, 2011 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Wock: Jamie!~wockbear on November 15th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
As someone who identifies more as androgyne, I'm thankful for this post! While I don't feel particularly offended by posts that use gender identifying terms, they do make me feel slightly alienated from the post/comm. So, again, thanks. ♥
Dina Clarelintilla on November 15th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
No worries!
miacup_supportmiacup_support on November 15th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
Thank you for raising this awareness.
I am sure that it will help more people to come to this forum for information and support if there is an open and accepting welcome in the posts.

Warm regards
Miacup Support Team
Dina Clarelintilla on November 15th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC)
:)
Kat: buffy smileetimodnar on November 15th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC)
Thank you for this. I'm rather ignorant on these matters, so education is welcome!