On Tuesday 25th July Em Loynd led about 20 people, mostly from BUC, in a discussion about gender diversity including trans-gender and non-binary genders. Em, who has a degree in Gender Studies and is of non-binary gender, shared the presentation they provide to professional bodies and groups. This included a discussion of pronouns, their use and their significance and led on to a discussion about what it is to have a non-binary gender or to be trans gender, with a little contribution from my perspective as a trans-gender woman. Discussion ranged from everyday experiences of trans-gender and gender diverse people to the use of gendered pronouns when referring to God, particularly in worship.
It was pointed out that like many things people often think of as binary, such as day and night or sea and land, ignoring dusk and dawn or tidal regions, gender isn’t totally binary either. Many shared their experience of successes and failures in using they/them as singular pronouns, but it was pointed out that the use of “they” and “them” as singular pronouns is actually quite common but often simply not recognised. A hypothetical example demonstrating this was given of somebody saying “Somebody left their phone behind. I hope that they come back for it soon.” It was acknowledged that it’s very easy to slip up and use incorrect pronouns but that if one does so the best thing to do is to briefly apologise, correct yourself and continue the discussion, without dwelling on it. The session concluded with us sharing our thoughts in groups of 2 or three. Em was thanked for their presentation and leadership in discussion.
A copy of the slides used in the presentation is available on request to Helen Rowe.