In recent days we've had the joy of witnessing some classic moral panic fanned by news of the fake variety on Channel 9 Breakfast TV, then picked up by Geelong Advertiser, Herald Sun and The Australian. Here's some nice analysis courtesy of Keira Leike.
The article was a response to our 'They Day' video which has been available on YouTube for months and was an initiative of the Victorian Public Service Pride Network. They Day is on the first Wednesday of each month when we're invited to wear badges displaying our pronouns and discuss concepts of gender-neutral language with friends and colleagues. Here's the original vid:
This month, presumably on a slow news day someone at Channel 9 Breakfast thought they could stoke some outrage: Victorian Government back gender-neutral pronouns
“I like it when people refer to me as ‘they’ because it feels true to myself,” RMIT post-doctoral research fellow Dr Son Vivienne told the Pride Network.
Dr Vivienne said everyone could benefit from using gender neutral pronouns.
“I think the space to imagine yourself without the constrictions of either masculine or feminine are huge, and for children in particular the potential to grow and be rich and complex people who are different selves on different days is also one of the things I like about ‘they’.”
Then I got to speak about all the fuss with Jonathon Green on ABC Radio National Drive. He was sympathetic and focussed on the minimum effort required to demonstrate respect. The audio is playable from main 'gender journey' blog page.
Radio Adelaide's David Bevan on Monday morning was more distracted by his twitter feed which was apparently full of people yelling 'political correctness gone crazy!'. Sigh.
And then, in my in-box this Isentia summary of current media. Spot a problem?
The whole bruhaha has been entertaining - and a measure of both impact and the dire need for more discussion on the topic. I was lucky not to get trolled on my socials, unlike some of the others involved in making the original 'They Day' video.
Keira Leike modelled some excellent ways of dealing with backlash - in particular crowd-sourcing responses to attacks on her Facebook page. She asked friends and followers to respond to a couple of comments each... and stoically continued to offer support and remind us all of the need for self-care. Go team!