Sunday, February 24, 2013

RE: #FeministAdvice for @OttawaHumane.

Dear Ottawa Humane Society,

Hello, I am writing to you today as a concerned supporter and feminist. I believe that the language chosen for the ottawahumane.ca website reaffirms a problematic conflation of sex and gender.

The issue in question is that the moniker “gender” is applied to adoptable animals. The two reported options within this category are “male” and “female”, which are in fact both sexes rather than genders. The important distinction here is that sex represents a biological phenotype (male/female/intersex bodies) and gender represents a social identity (man, woman, genderqueer, two-spirit, or any other self-determined gender identity). 




I think you’d agree that assigning the social identity of man or woman is an inappropriate descriptor for a pet. Further, the conflation of sex and gender advances uncritical cis-sexism by erasing the possibilities beyond binary gender.

I do not think any ill intent motivated the language choices on your website, but I do ask that in light of this understanding, the website will be updated to include sex rather than gender descriptions for adoptable pets.

Sincerely,



D$$


(Actual adoptable cat!)