The Gender Beat: Cisgender, Genderqueer in Dictionary Now; Police Flayed for Brutality Against Women Workers

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality

Credit: Charles Hutchins/Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Credit: Charles Hutchins/Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Merriam-Webster adds ‘cisgender’ and ‘genderqueer’ to its dictionary

The words cisgender (a person whose gender identity corresponds to the sex they were assigned at birth) and genderqueer (someone whose gender identity is neither male nor female, but falls outside of the gender binary) have now been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, according to a Vox report. As the report argues, the addition of these words into an official record of vocabulary reflects an expansion in society’s discussions around gender and gender identity.

The Oxford Dictionary added the words ‘cisgender’ and ‘transgender’ last year. Also last year, added ‘Mx’ – a gender-neutral pronoun.

However, the Oxford Dictionary came under fire from gender rights activists earlier this year, who pointed out that it was still using sexist language, such as the sentence ‘the rising shrill of women’s voices’ for the word ‘shrill’.

Police under fire for alleged brutality against women workers

Police officers, who allegedly assaulted women garment protesters in Bangalore are now being criticised by activists. The workers were protesting against the amendments to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme, which have now been withdrawn. The Hindu reports that the Garments and Textile Workers Union wants to lodge a complaint with the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission. However, its members say that many of the women workers who were beaten are unwilling to come forward, because they fear that a complaint will invite retribution from the police. They also fear that they will lose their jobs if they complain.

However, workers are planning to hold a rally protesting the alleged brutality, said the report.

Women brick kiln workers to assemble in Bathinda

Women brick kiln workers from across Punjab will assemble in Bathinda on April 22 as part of a convention for women workers in unorganised sectors, says a report in The Times of India. The convention is being organised by the organisation Volunteers for Social Justice. A representative of the organisation said that women workers make up half of the total number of brick kiln workers in the state, their work is not recognised, and they do not receive benefits, such as the EPF.

Women monks blame sexism for burning down of temple dormitory in Thailand

Women Buddhist monks in Rayong, Thailand, suspect that some of their dormitories were burned down by people who are opposed to the role of the women in the clergy, says a report in the Bangkok Post.

Although the fire happened on April 3, the police are yet to investigate the matter. The fire occurred one day after a group of men threatened the women, saying that they would burn down the centre if the women did not leave the village. The centre ordains women, a practice that is not recognised by male monks.

The women suspect that the fire happened in retaliation to an International Women’s Day awards function that a group of them attended this year.

Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

harriet tubmanAndrew Jackson will no longer be the face of the $20 bill in the US.

He is going to be replaced by the abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman, widely hailed for helping hundreds of people escape slavery after surviving it herself.

Jackson was a slave owner.

In addition, the movement to give women the vote will be featured on the back of new $10 bills.

Draft bill on the rights of transgender people sent to law ministry

Ministries who were supposed to respond to a draft bill on the rights of transgender persons in India have not done so. Despite this, the social justice ministry has sent the draft to the law ministry for finalisation, before it is sent to the cabinet for approval, says a report in the Hindustan Times.

The bill details acts that will count as atrocities against transgender people, and seeks to give transgender people more rights to housing and land, among other provisions.