Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Language of Inclusivity

Yet everything that has happened in the history of the world is not "the will of the Goddess." The Goddess is always attempting to persuade us to love intelligently, concretely, and inclusively.
-- Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess

As far as it being the day after my announcement, everything went relatively quietly today. I don't know how my supervisor took the news as I was not privy to that meeting.

As Donna told me today, "What does it matter?" My performance is what matters, and everyone thinks I'm doing great she tells me.

I am first and foremost a woman. Transsexual and transgender are adjectives that should be nobody else's business unless it truly matters. I had to bite my tongue with a friend of mine who is an HBS (Harry Benjamin Syndrome) advocate. In her conceptual model, transgender and transsexual are two completely non-overlapping things. She's entitled to her opinion. It's just not my experience. She also says that she's proud to be a transsexual, but I don't consider that the core of my being. As a consequence, years after surgery, her supervisor is telling new employees about how to work with a transsexual.

It's an adjective. Not a noun. The only people who need to know are those who are impacted by it, primarily those that have to watch me transition.

If you think it doesn't matter whether someone refers to you as a transsexual or a transsexual woman, think about this. English language is an embodiment language, that is, essence plays an important part, and hence is represented by the noun and pronoun. All sentences have a noun or pronoun, even if is implied in commands like, "Sit," where "you" is the implied essence.

The essence component of sentence shows itself most clearly when you reduce the sentence to its spine. Let's take look at two sentences:

1. The productive transsexual is meeting her agenda, and
2. The lazy transsexual woman is slouching off.

When you reduce these sentences to your essence, ala Senior English decomposition, you get:

1a. Transsexual meeting agenda, and
2a. Woman is slouching.

The thought behind Sentence 2a is typically more inclusive because the embodiment is easier to relate to.

This is what happens subconsciously when people parse sentences. They typical reduce the sentence to its minimal structure and then add the modifiers, like adjectives back in. When the essence is known, then the adjective is unnecessary and left off. For example, if there is only one ball, there is no point in saying "I kicked the red ball," because all I have to say is, "I kicked the ball." Capice?

So the moral of this story is, "Don't slouch, because you don't want to be known as a slouching woman."

Hugs and God Bless,

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