This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. (April 2018)
A gender-blind (or unisex) person is someone who adheres to not distinguishing people by gender. Gender blind people generally advocate gender neutrality in society, such as activities undertaken and services provided without regard to the gender of those who participate. Those who identify as pansexual may also refer to themselves as 'gender-blind': however, pansexuality emphasizes gender-blindness in sexuality.
Choice of words
Unisex is an older term, and a misnomer meaning "one sex". It should not be confused with bisexuality. Gender-blind however goes against most tenets of heteronormativity by not looking at gender at all.
The National Student Genderblind Campaign
In 2006 the National Student Genderblind Campaign was created as a collaborative grassroots organization intended to educate college students, administrators, and others throughout the United States. The NSGC advocates for the implementation of gender-inclusive dorm room and bathroom options.
Mixed-gender hospital rooms
The use of mixed-gender hospital rooms has proved controversial in both the United Kingdom and Canada. Manitoba's Health Minister, Theresa Oswald, has campaigned actively against such rooms after receiving complaints from a Winnipeg patient, Ollie Ingram. Oswald said if humanity can "put somebody on the moon", it can find a way to honor gender requests without leading to delays for patients. At the same time, some medical ethicists have been critical of efforts to return to single-sex rooms. Jacob Appel, an advocate for mixed rooms in the United States, has written that opposition to gender-mixed rooms stems from "old-fashioned prejudice" and argues that: "Because some people have been brought up to fear or dislike sharing a room with a person of the opposite sex, or blush at the prospect of catching a glimpse of an unwelcome body part when a robe slips open, we enshrine and perpetuate this prejudice in social policy." Great Britain has agreed to phase out such rooms by 2010.
Much as with similar approaches to dealing with racism and ethnicity, not recognising and taking account of participants' sex can be harmful. It posits that it functions in a post-sexism society where women are no longer treated differently than men on the basis of their sex. Meanwhile, gendered treatment prevails all over the world. Of a study of organisations which offered women-only services, 23% said that their reason was based on women's inequality and the desire to address that imbalance; 20% that women-only spaces promote female development and empowerment; 18% that they were providing a servie not being met by unisex services and which focused on the specific needs of women.
The legal test of the "reasonable person" has been criticised for being genderblind to be applied in some areas of the law, particularly sexual harassment. Women are subjected to more normalised and endemic sexual harassment than men. On the grounds of this, the American case of Ellison v. Brady 924 F.2d 872 (1991), the court held that "a sex-blind reasonable person standard tends to be male-based and tends to systematically ignore the experiences of women".
Studies indicate a broad support for single-sex service options to remain available. Of 1000 women polled by the Women's Resource Centre, 97% stated that women should have the option of accessing female-only services if they were victims of sexual assault. 57% indicated that they would choose a women-only gym over a mixed gym. Single-sex services can have a benefit in providing greater comfort and engaging participants who would otherwise not get involved.
- All-women shortlists
- Color blindness (race)
- Equal opportunity
- Gender-neutral language
- Third gender
- "Khóa Học Kế Toán Thực Hành Uy Tín Tại TPHCM – Một trang web mới sử dụng WordPress". www.genderblind.org.
- John Miner, Shared room sparks rage,London Free Press, June 17, 2010, http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2010/06/16/14417821.html
- Bruce Owen, Oswald vows action to stop coed rooms in hospitals, Winnipeg Free Press, May 14, 2010
- Jacob Appel, Are We Ready for Coed Hospital Rooms? Huffington Post, June 18, 2010
- Women-only services: making the case. A guide for women’s organisations (July 2011). (PDF). Women's Resource Centre. p. 18 https://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Making-the-case-for-women-only-July-2011.pdf. Missing or empty
- McCammon,, Holly J.; Taylor, Verta; Reger, Jo; Einwohner, Rachel L. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women's Social Movement Activism. p. 204.
- Women-only services: making the case. A guide for women’s organisations (July 2011). (PDF). Women's Resource Centre. p. 15 https://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Making-the-case-for-women-only-July-2011.pdf. Missing or empty
- Women-only services: making the case. A guide for women’s organisations (July 2011). (PDF). Women's Resource Centre. p. 17 https://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Making-the-case-for-women-only-July-2011.pdf. Missing or empty