CNN Advocates Gender-Inclusive Language, Sparking Debate

CNN published an article promoting gender-inclusive language, citing experts from The Trevor Project and Columbia University. The article argues that using terms like "pregnant people" and "penis owners" is essential for inclusivity and medical accuracy.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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CNN Advocates Gender-Inclusive Language, Sparking Debate

CNN Advocates Gender-Inclusive Language, Sparking Debate

CNN recently published anews articlepromoting the use of gender-inclusive language, including terms like "pregnant people" and "penis owners." The article cited experts from The Trevor Project and Columbia University to make the case for using these phrases, arguing they are essential for inclusivity and accuracy.

Why this matters: The adoption of gender-inclusive language has significant implications for the LGBTQ+ community, as it can help reduce feelings of exclusion and marginalization. Moreover, the use of accurate language in medical contexts can lead to better health outcomes and more effective treatment.

Keygan Miller, director of public training at The Trevor Project, stated that "as our understanding of gender has evolved, and our understanding of inclusion has evolved, we're starting to see more and more of these terms being used." Miller emphasized the importance of recognizing that "sex and gender are a bit of a spectrum ... and that they're not the same."

Dr. Jack Drescher, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, argued that using gender-inclusive terms is "the most inclusive, streamlined way to refer to everyone who, regardless of their gender identity, has certain anatomy or biological abilities."

Dr. Dennis Baron, a professor emeritus of English and Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that using gender-inclusive terms is "not just a matter of (being) inclusive or polite, it's a matter of medical accuracy." Baron rejected arguments that new terminology like "pregnant people" and "penis owners" were "made up" and therefore unworthy of serious consideration.

The article is part of a larger trend of promoting gender-inclusive language. In 2023, CNN published a "guide to neopronouns," which outlined the use of alternative grammar that eliminates "gender markers." The use of gender-neutral language has increased over the last two decades, particularly in the last five years, as understanding of gender has evolved.

Several medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Institutes of Health, have recognized the difference between gender and sex and support the use of gender-neutral terms. Experts argue that gender-inclusive language does not erase women, but rather includes people who have been previously excluded.

The CNN article has sparked debate and controversy, with some arguing that terms like "pregnant people" and "penis owners" are unnecessary or confusing. However, the experts cited maintain that gender-inclusive language is crucial for both inclusion and medical accuracy, as assumptions about a person's anatomy based on gender can lead to incorrect treatment. As Dr. Baron put it,"All language is made up, and it's made up because we have a need to say things."