by Michela Baldo, Fabio Corbisiero, and Pietro Maturi – Guest Editors
The guest editors’ introduction to the themed section focuses, on the one hand, on the resources that languages can draw on in order to adapt the use of grammatical gender to account for more equal relationships between men and women, and on the other hand on the fact that the use of the so-called “neuter masculine” in political and everyday discourses and in languages such as Italian, reveals the conscious and unconscious discriminatory power which sustains it. At the same time, the discourse on sex orientation still suffers from deep asymmetries disfavouring LGBTQI people on a range of levels varying from direct linguistic assault or hate speech to subtler uses indirectly implying that homosexual orientation is abnormal. The selection of grammatical gender applied to transgender people is another striking example of how language can be used to include or exclude, condemn or respect individual choices. This issue of g/s/i presents aspects of the persistence of a sexist and heterosexist discourse as well as of positive developments in Italy and in Italian towards a more inclusive and less violent use of Language, in view of a deconstruction and reconstruction of genders on new scientific and ethic bases.