Funny thing about gender-inclusive language in various settings — like, for instance, political party bylaws. It’s necessary to ensure equitable treatment of women, but it can have the unintended consequence of limiting transgender participation.
How so? Well, take the Vermont Democratic Party bylaw mandating that its chair and vice-chair be of “opposite” gender. Which is fine if you’re only considering males and females. But what about those who are “crossing the river,” or even choosing to live on an island in the river? They aren’t the “opposite” of anybody.
They’d seem to be SOL, right? After all, if a person is in transition, or considers themselves to be something other than absolutely male or female, they’d be left out of the “opposite gender” mandate.
At the very least, when the party’s own rules define gender as a male/female construct, there’s a tacit exclusion of transgender people.
Well, at its meeting on Saturday, the Democratic State Committee asked its Bylaws Subcommittee to propose trans-inclusive language in three specific places in the bylaws. And apparently it’s the first Democratic state party to initiate this process. “We’ve queried other state committees across the country,” said State Committee member Matt Levin, “and no one has figured this out.”
So the Vermont Democrats will be the pioneers, it seems.