David Galef ’81’s essay “Shifting Into Neutral” (feature, March 2) provides an interesting glimpse into the changing world of gender in language and culture today.
I found myself wondering why his editor chose not to title the essay “Shifting Into Neuter,” since the Latin word “neuter” is the proper grammatical term to use for words neither masculine nor feminine, and shouldn’t offend anyone.
It may be that the author and others are uncomfortable with “neuter” in discussions of gender, since it unfortunately describes accurately the condition of those attempting physical transformation from one side of the continuous gender spectrum to, or rather toward, the other.
As for the use of X to replace masculine and feminine endings, one might wonder why X was chosen instead of Y, when two Xs make a female and only one X is present in males. Surely another letter other than X or Y would not offend anyone on the gender road. Latiny would sound all too diminutive, if not tiny.