SWET Talk Shop via Zoom: Navigating Gendered Language and Inclusivity in 2023

with Claire Maree and Tanomi
Moderator: Emily Balistrieri (he/him)

Date: Saturday, May 13, 2023
Time: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon JST

Audio link: On SWET's YouTube Channel

Linguistic practices are evolving quickly as transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people around the world fight for rights and basic respect. What does good gender-inclusive English look like? What is gendered language like in Japanese? These are some of the questions we will discuss, tapping into the expertise of Professor Claire Maree, researcher and specialist in everyday language practices relating to gender and sexuality, and Japanese trans rights activist and neuroscience researcher Tanomi. We will share specific models to refer to and experiences to consider.

Speaker Profiles

Claire Maree (her) is Professor in Japanese at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne and President of the International Gender and Language Association. Claire completed master's (1997) and doctoral (2002) degrees at the University of Tokyo, and taught Japanese linguistics, multicultural studies and gender/sexuality studies at Toyo University (2001-2004) and Tsuda University (2004–2010) before taking up her current position. With extensive experience in the study of contemporary Japanese culture and society, Claire is actively involved in queer studies and qualitative approaches to language, gender and sexuality. Her key expertise lies in linguistic analysis of identity and the mediatisation of language styles. The key themes of her current research are (a) the reproduction, negotiation and contestation of identities in language, and (b) the interconnection of gender and sexuality in everyday language practices.

Tanomi (he/him/彼男) is a community organizer and neuroscience PhD student at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, studying how testosterone HRT affects ADHD-like traits in rats with ovaries. With a handful of other queer activists, he organizes a quasi-monthly demonstration in Tokyo called Arienai Demo, where people gather to protest the transphobic laws and practices that violate gender autonomy in Japan (including the invasive legal transition requirements of the so-called Seidōissei Shōgai Tokureihō or “Gender Identity Disorder Special Cases Act”). Arienai Demo strives to be an accessible, welcoming space for people with diverse intersecting identities to express their dissent. Tanomi has advocated for the use of the masculine neo-pronoun kanodan (彼男) to challenge the male centricity inherent in the use of kare (his/him) as a masculine pronoun in modern Japanese.