Elle India has released a new video that emphasises just how important it is to have a vocabulary that includes people of various genders.
Thanks to the Supreme Court judgement in the 2014 NALSA case, India now officially recognises three genders: male, female and the ‘third gender’. While it’s a step forward that many of the most countries in the world are far from taking, it also leaves a lot to be asked: only transgender people fall under this category, and plus, as activist Sheetal Smitoj asked, “Why are we called the third gender? Who is first gender and second gender? Men? Women? Why are we third?”
Gender is meant to be understood more as a range of diverse identities existing along a spectrum, as opposed to two or three definite poles in some kind of hierarchy. This new video by Elle India brings out the gender identities that many people are unfamiliar with, in an attempt to bring meaningful conversation around the reality of different gender identities to the mainstream.
My favourite part of the video is when Elsz says that if we got off our asses and stopped being lazy with our language and with our conditioning, then respect and solidarity would grow between everybody on the spectrum. Which is true: actions as small and effortless as learning about the diverse range of gender identities that exist indifferent cultures, finding out how people identify and what pronouns they would like to be called, mainstreaming the usage of the gender-neutral pronoun “they” (which was the word of the year 2015), and just giving people the opportunity to define themselves and be happy go a really long way in making society and life better for everyone.
You can check out the full video featuring Rishika Anchalia, Josie Paris, Elsz and Alok Vaid-Menon here: