'Genderbread Person' caught at Penn State
- Posters featuring the "Genderbread Person" were posted in student dorms at Pennsylvania State University this week as part of 2017 Pride Week.
- The website behind the "Genderbread Person" has been criticized by many in the LGBT community, who accuse its "white, cis, heterosexual" founder of "appropriating" the work of transgender individuals.
- Other posters, drawn from a different source, urge students to use gender-neutral language, such as replacing terms like "guys" with "friends" or "folks."
Posters featuring the "Genderbread Person" were posted in student dorms at Pennsylvania State University this week during 2017 Pride Week, which is hosted by the school's LGBTQA Student Resource Center.
"Gender is one of those things everyone thinks they understand, but most people don't," the poster proclaims, informing students that, "Gender isn't binary. It's not either/or. In many cases it's both/and. A bit of this. A dash of that."
"This tasty little guide is meant to be an appetizer for gender understanding," the infographic continues. “It's okay if you're hungry for more. In fact, that's the idea.”
Featuring a smiling graphic of a gingerbread man, the poster outlines categories including identity, attraction, sex, and expression. Gender Identity is defined as, "How you, in your head, define your gender," while Biological Sex is defined as, "The physical sex characteristics you're born with and develop."
The website that produced the poster, “ItsPronouncedMetrosexual,” describes itself as "a site where advocates of social justice can find helpful articles, fun graphics, and other resources designed to be shared in an effort to advance social equity."
Other literature available on the site includes a primer called, "A Guide to Gender Identity: The Social Advocate's Handbook."
Some within the social justice community, however, have accused the website of plagiarizing the graphic from other sources, and have also complained that its founder is “a white, cis, heterosexual guy” who is “appropriating” the work of LGBT individuals.
Other posters, drawn from different sources, warned students to "be mindful of language," when greeting others, because "shifting to gender-inclusive language respects and acknowledges the gender identities of all people and removes assumption."
Instead of utilizing traditional greetings and pronouns, the poster suggests that students use phrases like, "Thanks friends, have a great night," "Good morning, folks," “Hi, everyone," "and for you," and "Can I get you all something?"
A source who spoke with Campus Reform on condition of anonymity alleged that RAs were required to place the posters in student dorms, but Sonya Wilmoth, assistant director of the school’s LGBTQA Student Resource Center, refuted that assertion, saying “RAs were not required to post these,” and that the materials in question must have been “posted as educational pieces” by individual RAs at their own discretion.
“We have done multiple Safe Zone 101s for the residence life staff and administration, as well as with many of the RA's on campus,” she explained. “We provide those handouts in each training. I am assuming that those particular RAs felt that the material may be useful for their floor.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertMGunter