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Gender neutrality creates controversy

Kylee B. '21, Writer

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Gender neutrality has become a popular trend among millennials and young adults in the 21st century, and changes are being made in society to make every person feel included. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of gender neutrality is not referring to sex but to people in general. Things such as Santa and even bathroom signs have been taken into consideration for changes in gender neutral society.

People who are gender neutral do not label themselves as a man or woman because they feel it does not represent them entirely. The specific term for this is “agender.” Another term is “bigender” which is someone who feels they encompass both a man and woman. Lastly, there is the term “binary” for someone who has two identities and sexes. These are just a few gender neutral expressions being integrated into society.

The gender neutral community has not only made terms to identify themselves, as they also believe ideas in society should be changed to be more inclusive. Controversy has sparked over these topics and numerous people are in disagreement. For instance, some in the gender neutral community feel Santa should be altered to represent all people.

In terms of what gender Santa should be, nearly 19 percent of United States respondents said the patriarch of Christmas should be identified as neither male or female. More than 10 percent said a woman should fill the role, according to ABC 7 News.

However, many people feel bathroom signs and toys should be changed to fit gender neutrality. Bathroom signs will now display a man, woman and handicapped person and underneath it will say “gender neutral bathroom.” Anyone will be able to utilize these bathrooms if they feel necessary. Toys, specifically ones made by Mattel and Hasbro, are losing the blue and pink colors in place of more neutral colors. The companies are also working on not marketing toys explicially to boys and girls, but to everyone as a whole.

“I’m definitely in favor of gender neutral restrooms in schools. I have found that converting staff restrooms-or single stall restrooms into gender neutral restrooms is a good option-that eliminates push back from anyone who may be uncomfortable, but still respects the rights of the person using the bathroom,” guidance counselor Selena McKnight said.

Gender neutral people believe that integrating gender neutral terms in society helps fight stereotypes. It helps change the idea that certain professions and expressions lean towards male or female dominant.

“I have nothing against gender neutral terms, however I feel it is hard to incorporate them into society when the issue is divided. Especially in school where it is not talked about often, kids are not always aware there are changes being made outside of school,” Danielle B. ‘21 said.

People are starting to parent their kids and bring them up in a more neutral light. In the more extreme cases, some parents are not labeling their kids with any gender, but simply letting them choose.However, most parents are just trying raise their children in an environment which is gender stereotype free.

“I also believe in calling people by the names they wish to be called and using preferred pronouns,” McKnight said.

It can benefit kids to grow up in an environment that is free of gender stereotypes because they will then believe that no profession is male or female dominant. For instance, kids in this generation look at a firefighter as a male dominant job and this causes females to shy away from those types of careers. If people start taking away these stereotypes, it could benefit kids in the long run and ultimately how they look at the world, according to The Telegraph.

However, some believe emphasizing gender neutrality only harms children in the upcoming generations because society is searching for problems when there are not any. Now, gender is becoming a serious problem and the label children are given at birth are being questioned at an extremely young age. Society is teaching children to change themselves as soon as they encounter a problem rather than deal with the growing pains, according to The Daily Telegraph.

“Personally, I do not have a problem with gender neutrality in society, and I try and stay neutral on the subject. It really does not affect me in any way, and I think people should do whatever makes them happy. However in general, I think being accepting of everyone is an important lesson for kids,” Evelyn B. ‘19 said.

The topic of gender neutrality is constantly being talked about, but changes are being made in society as of recent years. Many people are objective on the subject, and they are altering minor things in their life to start on their journey of becoming more gender neutral. Gender neutrality may become a societal norm in the coming generations.

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