I’ve got a matched set of stories for you that caught my eye because of the changes in the English language. Both involve those who describe themselves as trans- or differently gendered. This post has nothing to do with their biological issues, their life style decisions or their political impact. It just has to do with language.
First, the law in Massachusetts just changed, making the other gendered a politically protected class. The problem, of course, is figuring out what constitutes this class. Peter Wilson explains the problem:
State Representative Mark Lombardo (R-Billerica), an opponent of the bill, pointed out on the Howie Carr radio show that “transgender” does not include transsexuals who have gone through surgery; these people are legally considered to be their new sex. Rather, transgendered individuals “identify” with a gender other than the sex that was “assigned…usually at birth and based on their genitals” (Wikipedia). Transgender activists have created numerous categories to describe the various stages along the gender continuum: “other,” “agender,” “genderqueer,” “third gender,” “transvestite,” drag king or queen,” “androgyne” and “bigender.”
Even within the other gendered community, there’s discord that takes a wonderful linguistic twist. Don’t concern yourself with the spat between the famous Bono kid and the famous Beatty kid, both of whom went from being ostensibly girls, to being surgically and chemically boys. Instead, just enjoy the Beatty kid’s word choices for describing the problem with the Bono kid’s alleged misogyny:
Chaz is a misogynist. He is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and his female socialization makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong.”
My Lord, what politically correct academia hath wrought in the wonderful world of the English language!