The new inclusive language of Essex Junction, Vermont

April 27, 2023 • 11:30 am

I cannot vouch that this letter is genuine, but I’m betting it is. If you can prove it’s a fake, I’ll give you $10.  It was purportedly sent to an email list by one of the parents in the school district.

Click to enlarge if you’re myopic:

The only good thing about this is that it implicitly recognizes the sex binary. But what does it have to do with “equity policy”?

44 thoughts on “The new inclusive language of Essex Junction, Vermont

      1. The Egg Man is a bit more unpleasant in the case of John Waters’ movies!

        But we have to give them this: they have defined the sexes correctly by gamete type. (But we do have these convenient shorthand terms for their longer ones…)

  1. Maybe I’m being Pollyannaish about this, but I’m glad that at least they’re rejecting “assigned male/female at birth,” which is the most dishonest of the ideology’s jargon. Sex isn’t arbitrarily assigned at birth; it’s objectively observed from visual evidence that’s nearly always accurate.

    1. Sex is not ‘assigned at birth’. It is observed and not always correctly. Sex observed at birth is roughly 99.9% correct, but not 100.0%. For example, Caster Semenya was thought to be female at birth. He is actually a 46-XY male with a DSD. In a village in the Dominican Republic, there are ‘güevedoces’. These are males, who appear to be female at birth, but only grow male genitalia at puberty.

  2. I think it’s more a case of: if we don’t use those terms, we’ll be unable to acknowledge and discuss the binary nature of sex. This is akin to Orwell’s Newspeak – if a concept has no words to represent it in that language, there’s no way to communicate anything about it.

  3. “Person who produces sperm in place of boy, male…
    Person who produces eggs in place of girl, female…”

    Linguistic problem #1: Since sperm-producing persons are male /by definition/, “female person who produces sperm” is a contradiction in terms; and since egg-producing persons are female /by definition/, “male person who produces eggs” is a contradiction in terms.

    Linguistic Problem #2: Pre-pubescent boys do not produce any sperm, so “boy” isn’t synonymous with “person who produces sperm”; and pre-pubescent girls do not produce any (mature) eggs, so “girl” isn’t synonymous with “person who produces (mature) eggs”. (Girls pre-natally produce all the eggs they will ever have, but these are still immature and not usable for sexual reproduction until puberty.)

    1. Re 1). That is precisely the trans ideologue’s point. People who produce sperm are not “by definition” male, because they reject that definition. Maleness is the gender you adopt and is not relevant for teaching the biology of human reproduction. “Checkmate”, they gloat.

      Re 2). Splitting hairs. Grade 5 students soon will be, some will have already. Presumably they would be teaching about the changes that will occur or are occurring during puberty. It will be interesting to know if the teaching will include the impact on muscle mass and other body characteristics enjoyed by the persons who (will) produce sperm compared to the persons who will produce eggs. Some egg-producer is sure to ask, “So why then are persons who produce sperm and get erections allowed to watch me change for gym class and compete against me in track and field?”

  4. Based on this, I assume they will broach the subject of kids who do not identify themselves in the traditional gender binary, and I can be glad for that. Every kid needs to learn about themselves and about others, and kids who are not cis-gendered must surely be wondering what the heck is going on with them. Why do they feel different? I can’t imagine what that must be like.
    But this language policing is aimed at creating more vaguery and confusion, while meanwhile ticking off every parent who is not fully on board with progressivism.

  5. Sneaky use of “person-first” language to hide an agenda that erases the definition of male and female as based on gamete type. What the school is worried about is that there will be “boys” in the Reproduction class who do (or would soon but for hormones) produce eggs, and “girls” who used to (before hormones) get penile erections and wet dreams. They don’t want to appear transphobic or engage in conversion therapy by teaching anything that might make these boys and girls think they are really the sex dictated by their gametes. (“After all that psychotherapy and hormones, how dare you try to make my son think he’s really a girl?!”)

    They haven’t accepted the sex binary at all. They’ve accepted only the gamete binary, an unassailable fact, without acknowledging that sex— maleness and femaleness— is defined by that binary. (The letter never once mentions the word “sex.”)

    Clever folks those Vermont Yankees. Hard for us rubes to keep ahead of ‘em. I’d like some smart-aleck to ask, “So Ms. Cranston, how do I know if I am a person who produces eggs or a person who produces sperm?”

  6. At the risk of me sounding mischievous here, couldn’t the phrase “Person who produces eggs” also refer to an egg farmer (regardless of which sex they were assigned at birth)…?

  7. It would be hilarious, if it weren’t so tragic.
    At least they do not adhere to the sex ‘assigned at birth’ meme.
    Sex is not ‘assigned ‘ at birth, but determined at birth (and with ultrasound generally well before birth).

    1. ‘Determined’ is far too ambiguous – caused/found out/decided – to be useful here, unless accompanied by an explicit definition.

    2. I could be wrong, as I’m not an ultrasound tech or a doctor, but I don’t think you can determine what gametes a fetus produces from an ultrasound. You’re pretty much limited to seeing whether or not their is a penis, no?

      1. Modern ultrasound in second trimester is better than yes or no penis. The detailed anatomy of the external genitalia of both sexes and often the internal sex organs of a female fetus can be observed readily.

        Of course you can’t see actual gametes. We’ve been over this before. When we say, “produces sperm”, we mean, “has the body plan that, if it matures normally, will eventually produce sperm and cannot ever produce eggs.” Vice versa for when we say, “produces eggs”. For all ordinary intents and purposes, the images of a normal-looking fetus on ultrasound tell you what gametes the child will eventually be able to produce if everything proceeds normally. And, very important, what gametes it will not ever be able to produce. No fetus with a penis will ever produce eggs. No fetus with a uterus and ovaries will ever produce sperm.

        If abnormalities are seen on ultrasound or, obviously, at birth, well, that’s what doctors are here for. This is beyond the scope of teaching 10-11 year-olds about normal reproduction.

  8. When I cover human reproduction in Science class, I specifically state we are talking about sex, not gender, and stick to male and female. It doesn’t have to be that difficult.

  9. Quoting James Lindsay :

    “It is impossible to overstate the central relevance of problematizing to the Theory and praxis of Critical Social Justice. ”

    “In summary, problematizing is the critical-theoretical equivalent of falsifiability in science, which is to say the primary means by which it disqualifies hypotheses and other propositions from being considered knowledge. ”

    Source :

    But to understand how the letter above is entirely the product of the formula of critical theories – in particular the forwarding of a critical social theory to decrease the confidence in or replace established scientific results (IMHO), follow other links on the New Discourses site.

    They use entirely different approaches, so going at this with empiricism will fail because it is based on minoritization, and ideas like that.

  10. “Mx. Jabberwocky, when I go through puberty will I be a person who produces sperm, or will I be a person who produces eggs?”

    “I don’t know, Johnny. None of us can know until it happens.”

    “I kinda get how I’ll know if I produce sperm. I mean, I think I do. But what if I don’t see anything happen? Does that mean I’m a person who produces eggs?”

    “Maybe, Johnny. It’s easy to know if you produce eggs. You’ll start bleeding through your penis.”

  11. I have a gay friend who refers to straight people as breeders. There’s no sexual nor gender identities involved with the term. The word describes only the function of the organism. The simpler the term, the easier it is to understand the meaning.

        1. Pretty sure Tom’s friend meant “breeders” as a slur, not as a definition. Like Harrison Ford’s boss in Blade Runner referring to the android replicants they were hunting as “skin jobs.”
          Memory fragment from the hedonistic heyday: two homosexuals watching a 3-year-old having a meltdown in a departure lounge and saying smugly, “See? That’s what happens when straight people fuck.”

          The idea of gay people as warm and loving parents evolved, as I suppose it did for the rest of us.

  12. Ok this is not perfect, but they have gotten bits correct. Since everyone likes to confuse sex and gender, they have selected terms which clearly identify the nature of the person under discussion. I am sure there are ‘persons who produces eggs’ at that school who identify as male gender, and vice versa. The language is clunky, but clear.

    1. Why say “person”? Why not organism”, or “body”, or as they say, “human body”?

      They are blending scientific and social terms and will fail to address either area clearly.

      Chimpanzees, kolas, and dogs produce both eggs and sperm but are not people.

      Conversely, a person is more than a body.

      I find the language … what’s the word… I’ll use “weird”, because it is as if “people” go around willfully deciding to pump out either eggs or sperm the way they might bake a cake.

      Bah! Overcommenting again. Sorry! Too much fun (for me).

      1. Transitory assembly of particles is actually closer to the reality but then, who cares about reality ? Reality is a social construct. Vision is technically discriminating by the way so we should really ignore our senses altogether.

      2. Chimpanzees, kolas, and dogs produce both eggs and sperm but are not people.

        At least some people do consider chimpanzees to be sufficiently human that human rights legislation (e.g., right to health, liberty & pursuit of happiness) ought to apply to chimpanzees. Now, they may not have much hope of getting their arguments through the courts, probably not for several generations yet ; but they certainly are putting their arguments to the courts and forcing their targets to try to refute them.

    2. Just a small note : I was not commenting “at” you in particular – I think it was supposed to be an individual comment.

      I think the overt effect of the comment changes, depending on that.

  13. On behalf of people who can make neither sperm nor eggs (due to a mutation, say, or to losing their testicles in an accident), I feel triggered and invalidated by this blatant erasure. This violent language must not stand!

    … Am I doing this right?

    1. What about all the people who are no longer alive? They are still people, but do not manufacture eggs or sperm.

      Then there are people who had vasectomy and .. ovarectomy (?) operations.

  14. Once more noting that so very much of the successor ideology seems to be endless navel-gazing about … words.

    Given its supposed concern for “marginalized” people, surely it’s worth questioning how much/if any of their constant tally of angels on pinheads does such people much, or any, good.

    I’m a writer by profession, have been paid to write for more than 35 years. I love language, and precision matters to me. But Orwell really nailed it in ‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘1984’: Language can be used to obscure as much as to clarify.

  15. Sex is not ‘assigned at birth’. It is observed and not always correctly. Sex observed at birth is roughly 99.9% correct, but not 100.0%. For example, Caster Semenya was thought to be female at birth. He is actually a 46-XY male with a DSD. In a village in the Dominican Republic, there are ‘güevedoces’. These are males, who appear to be female at birth, but only grow male genitalia at puberty.

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