[Callers] Gender free dances

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Mon Dec 6 14:10:56 PST 2010

John B. Freeman wrote:

> I have never attended, nor been asked to call a gender-free dance in my 30
> years of calling, but I would be open to using whatever terminology/markers
> a group is used to using.

Exactly.  I hope nobody is advocating converting groups which are used to and
happy with calls addressed to "boys" and "girls" or "men" and "women" or
"gents" and "ladies" to "bands" and "bares" or "hippos" and "geraniums"; I know
I'm not.  (First, such a group is by definition comfortable with using the
gendered terminology - because if there any people who couldn't tolerate the
gendered terminology they didn't stick around - so there is no win, even from
the pushing-an-agenda perspective, in merely annoying the stakeholders.
I'm not in the least surprise that whoever it was in this comment thread
offered to use gender-neutral terminology at gendered dances with a big gender
imbalance and found no takers.  

I also hope nobody is advocating going to a gender-free group which uses
non-sex-linked terminologies because they're more comfortable with it (and I
claim such people exist because people who feel that way have told me so) and
telling them they should get over it and use sex-linked terms, because again,
all you do is annoy the stakeholders.

There are people in the world who like contra dancing and are uncomfortable
with having to take on a role with an identifiably-gendered name in order to
it, and for them to feel embraced by a dance community, they need
non-gender-linked role names.  (I am not promoting an action program based on
that fact; I am attempting to promote understanding of why "bands" and "bares"
is useful for GLBT contra.)  

 Most of my calling has been for the "usual" contra
> dance crowd, ONS dances, Civil War balls, and open square dances.
> Terminology has just not been an issue for any of these groups. Whatever works for a
> given dance community is hunky-dory with me. Just don't push your views on
> those who are happy with the way things are.

Hear, hear!

-- Alan

 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025

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