Have you noticed that the issue of gender identity seems to be coming to the fore? A recent BBC programme talked about the ‘gender continuum’ and looked at some of the differences between gender and sex. The programme memorably suggested that sex was what was between your legs and gender was what was between your ears. But then pointed out that it was possible to have female chromosomes and male genitalia.
Why am I wondering about this? Well, because I recently spoke to a school teacher who was in the habit of addressing her class as ‘ladies and gents’, but recently one of her pupils took exception to this and asked why she didn’t use a gender neutral term. So that is my question: how do you address your students? If there really is a gender continuum rather than clear categories is this something we need to think about?
I know that some teachers address their students as ‘guys’, which seems to have become slightly non gender-specific in the plural – but if I said I met a guy recently, wouldn’t you nevertheless think I meant a male?
What do you call your students?