Offbeat Bride featured an article about power, privilege, gender, and oppression when it comes to weddings — which I totally love!
…But I worry that there’s a lot of language in the post that many would not understand.
My sister-in-law is a lesbian and sadly receives a lot of flak for it from her family. Another family member, in her first year of university, is doing her best to put her women’s studies courses to good use by talking a lot about “heteronormativity,” “cisgender privilege,” “gender-queer nuance,” etc, etc.
While I think it is good to talk about these issues using scholarly language, with my family it usually seems to end up doing more harm than good.
Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how to discuss these complex issues using simpler language? Does changing the language cheapen the subject?
We love this question, Jennay! While terms like cisgender, heteronormativity, trans-identified, and gender-neutral pronouns like xe/xyr/xem aren’t necessarily “scholarly” terms (those are everyday terms for some people in the LGBTQ community) they are definitely not terms that everyone’s familiar with.
In fact, Some of us Empire editors have had conversations with gay friends and family members who are like “cis-wtf?! I do not get it.”
And there’s also the issue of using accessible language to build community bridges. As Ariel said in her post about parenting acronyms:
I totally recognize the ways in which we all use language to establish connection and commiseration, but [some language can] result in alienation and distancing.
Could codified speech in the LGBT community alienate potential allies? How can we talk about gender and LGBT issues using simpler words? Or should we work on educating others to learn the most current terms?