Every year, the English-speaking world turns to Merriam-Webster to see which slang words the dictionary will make permanently obsolete by adding them to the official lexicon. This year, however, the foremost authorities on language went beyond the latest internet memes and added several words that have, up until lately, only been used in the world of academic gender theory. “Cisgender,” “genderqueer,” and the title “Mx.” were added to the unabridged dictionary amid much fanfare from the LGBT community.
Now when a weirdo calls you a cis-male, you’ll be able to find out just how you were insulted. Turn your handy dictionary to the entry labeled cisgender to find this:
“Of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.”
In other words, to be “cis” is to be born male and to also “identify” as male. And the same with females. Suddenly, after all of these millennia, we need a word for that peculiar situation that describes 99.99% of the world’s population. Presumably, we will soon need words for people who choose to breathe air, employees who show up for work, and cars that go. In a world where all choices are valid, we can’t risk “normalizing” normal behavior.
Now, what’s this “Mx.” business?
“The gender-neutral Mx. is used as a title for those who do not identify as being of a particular gender, or for people who simply don’t want to be identified by gender,” says the new and improved Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Excellent. How many people, exactly, belong to this group? How many people in the English-speaking world identify as neither male nor female? Six? Seven? Maybe it’s higher than that, but there’s no way it’s high enough to warrant the official inclusion of this title in the world’s most respected dictionary. These are such blatant political inclusions that you almost feel a certain secondhand embarrassment for the editors at Merriam-Webster.
Of course, they deny any such motivation. In an interview with The Atlantic, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, said, “The dictionary is not a political document.” He insisted that they only accept or reject a word based on whether or not an adult is likely to come across it. “The fact that these words have been coming up recently is because they’re politically possible.”
Was that political possibility driven by a real outcry in the LGBT community, or was it exploited by leftists using these extraordinarily marginal issues to erode traditional conservative values?
Either way, the language is changing. And if we’ve learned anything over the last fifty years, it’s that these kinds of changes almost always herald a step forward for “progressivism.”