Bookacamp switches to gender star
Directly, as the third gender non-binary was introduced in 2018 and could officially be stated in the German ID card, Bookacamp adjusted its registration forms and processes to support it. Also, the use of a language, that excludes nobody because of their personal characteristics, has been important to us for years.
Previously, we used a notation that represented the gender-non-specific form of the language by a slash. However, it has become apparent that various groups of people - often referred to as LGBTQ+ - is better symbolized by an asterisk - the so-called gender star. Therefore, we have decided to change our language concepts. All texts in our user interfaces are represented by the asterisk * now. The asterisk stands for all persons who cannot be classified in the binary language pattern male & female.
This conversion is not a simple matter, as there is no official set of rules. Manufacturers of screen readers recommend using neutral wording as often as possible. Where it is not possible, the asterisk should be used instead of ":" colon or "_" underscore, as it is currently the most commonly used form of gender-sensitive language.
The changeover process was started today with the change of german texts at our company and is an ongoing process, because - of course - we also adapt our documents and our texts cannot all be read through at once. For quite a lot of wording, there are easy ways to change the language. Others are more difficult. For our english versions it is much easier, because most of all texts are just gender-neutral by language. One example, we look at are texts, which uses pharses like he/she, which now become he*she.
We are aware that the topic is sometimes discussed loudly and very controversially. The fact is that there are people who cannot and do not have to classify themselves as either male or female. We do not want to exclude those persons and are happy if there would be official rules in the future. The last statement of the Council for German Orthography is from 2021/03/16. 2 years old! If one looks at the members of the council (https://www.rechtschreibrat.com/ueber-den-rat/), there is at least a significant proportion of outwardly female persons. A diversity in origin, skin color or age are not to be recognized. In our opinion, this is not a representative picture of society and therefore we are not surprised, that there has been no update on this topic for the last 2 years.
Author: Mathias Methner