The Gender Neutral Movement

MTV announced that they will replace the male and female categories with “non-gendered” prizes for its movie and TV awards show.

Recently, the organisers of MTV awards have recognised gender- neutrality, and replaced best female and male actors with a gender-neutral “Best Actor”. However, there is ongoing debate on whether or not this is a good idea, as discussed in a previous WNOL article.

The debate about gender neutrality has been going on for years. Various academics have argued that gender identity is a continuum, and not a binary male/female. This depends on a variety of factors, including anatomy, chromosomes, hormones, and feelings.

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Today, a growing number of students are accepting the idea that there should be more than two gender classifications, something that Facebook and dating website, OkCupid have embraced. Last year, Facebook added a tab for “custom” alongside “male” and “female,” with around 50 options, including “agender,” “androgyne,” “pangender” and “trans person,” as well as an option for controlling who can see the customized version.

Many believe that identifying as genderqueer is an opportunity to self-invent, unburdened from social expectations about dress and behavior.

Currently, many transgender students face difficulties involving gender identity, such as the inability to use bathrooms marked “men” or “women” for fear of a confrontation with a confused classmate and being accused of using a stolen student ID in the cafeteria because the name printed on it didn’t match someone’s appearance. 

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Gender- neutral toilet sign. Image by: images.mydoorsign.com

This movement is not just exclusive to students and youth, but a growing number of British children, such as Caleb and Kai are being raised as gender neutral. Their parents Gabriella and Joe Haughton-Malik told The Independent that they describe their children as boys and use male pronouns, but don’t want their lives to be restricted by traditional gender implications.

Joe Houghton-Malik and Gabriella explains: “If they can dress up as pirates and Darth Vader and zombies, why can’t they dress as princesses? It would be a bit hypocritical of me if I let them dress up as someone who marauders over the seven seas, murdering and stealing things but I can’t let them be a princess.”

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