Thanks to the Feminism Movement that began decades ago, our culture is finally beginning to do what feminists have long dreamed of: Erasing the lines between boy and girl. In other words, creating a gender-free society. Never mind that the word “they” is plural; “they” has become an increasingly popular substitute for “he” or “she” in the transgender community, and the University of Vermont, a public institution of some 12,700 students, has agreed to the validation of a third gender:
Today, a growing number of students are embracing the idea that when it comes to classifying gender, there should be more than two options — something now afforded by the dating website OkCupid and by Facebook, which last year added a tab for “custom” alongside “male” and “female,” with some 50 options, including “agender,” “androgyne,” “pangender” and “trans person,” as well as an option for controlling who can see the customized version.
Activists on campuses as diverse as Penn State, University at Albany, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and University of California, Riverside, are laying claim to a degree of identity freedom nearly unimaginable when the first L.G.B.T student centers were established. Today’s students, who grew up with Gay-Straight Alliances in their high schools, with transgender people represented in the media and with transgender rights percolating through the courts, arrived on campuses already L.G.B.T.-friendly and, in many cases, equipped with gender-neutral housing and bathrooms.
In hopes of raising consciousness of the biases built into social structures and into the language we use to discuss them, students are organizing identity conferences and inventing new vocabularies, which include pronouns like “ze” and “xe,” and pressing administrations to make changes that validate, in language, the existence of a gender outside the binary.