Wednesday, June 30, 2010

why gender-inclusive language is essential

My non-theological answer to why gender-inclusive language is essential: I am raising a daughter. At the age of 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 gender identity is one of the key ways she’s making sense of the world. She counts boys and girls (and whether the presence of a female dog ups the ante on the girls side so that they win). And, when she hears masculine language, she automatically excludes herself from the addressees.

As a man, this is something that experientially I will never be able to relate to, but as a dad I know that I want my daughter to hear the words of the Bible and know that they are expressed to her as much as they are to her brother. I don’t want girls or women who pick up the Bible to think that they are only members of the family of God by implication or by necessary consequence.

--J. R. Daniel Kirk, "Language and Social Programming" (HT Joel Watts and Suzanne McCarthy)