What’s in a name: Why do you refer to gender and not sex? And what about sexual orientation?
This is a good question, because names do matter. If we wanted to be very complete, we might call ourselves “Sex, Gender, and Sexual-Orientation Justice,” because we are convinced that stereotypes and biases based on sex, gender and sexual orientation are inextricably linked. We consider it our mission to challenge these stereotypes and biases and to select cases that bring to light the harms they cause.
But “Sex, Gender, and Sexual-Orientation Justice” doesn’t roll off the tongue, and it would be tiresome to type in as a URL or email address. We trust that people will understand that we use Gender Justice as an umbrella term for our broader mission.
Moreover, “gender justice” is a label that works well within the global community. While many Americans may be more used to labels like “sex discrimination” or “women’s rights,” advocates outside the U.S. have been gravitating toward the label “gender justice,” at least when they are writing in English. It seems to us a good sign that the label is catching on here as well.
We also think there is some value in our full URL, genderjustice.us, because it ends with “.us” rather than the more common “.org” (denoting a nonprofit). We admit to liking the apparent play on words, as in “Gender Justice ‘R Us.” But on a more serious note, we like the real meaning of the “.us” suffix, which specifically marks us as a U.S.-based organization. That fits with our understanding of how gender rights advocacy should work: It’s not about any one country, culture, or organization having all the answers and helping out the benighted others. Individuals around the world need to continue developing their own views and expertise on the issue of gender justice; organizing needs to be primarily bottom-up; and joint work needs to be a partnership of equals. Gender Justice is engaged in just this sort of local, bottom-up organizing from its base in St. Paul, Minnesota, and it is open to partnering with like-minded groups, wherever they may be found.