Broadly speaking, Genderism is any notion that there are two (or more) sexes, a concept that has been completely erased from the cultural landscape. Clothing is unisex, and generally constructed to conceal hips, bustlines, and body shape. The overall ambiance is androgynous, tending towards femininity. Masculinity is suppressed.

Linguistic Artifacts

The Panglobal Language does not officially include any words for the two sexes or for those things which them different. There are, however, slang terms for all of the above. Men are referred to as outs, and women are referred to as ins. As for body parts, phal is used for phallus, mams for mammaries, and vag for vagina. These terms convey the slanginess of their usage without being artificial or smutty.

The portrayal of an officially genderless society required me to make a difficult choice in the use of pronouns. If I used the usual sex-specific pronouns, I would be introducing a foreign concept into the narration. I experimented with they/them/their, but this introduces singular/plural ambiguities that can be difficult to resolve. I did not want to use any of the recently coined pronouns, such as xe, because they do not feel natural to me. This left only he and she. I chose she/her/hers; I figured this would annoy fewer people than if I used he/him/his all the time. This leads some readers to believe that there are no men this world, but such is not the case. Very few of my characters have been assigned a gender.

Many readers find the results unsettling. Good. I’m writing dystopian fiction. If you feel comfortable, I haven’t done my job.

Keeping it Hidden

You are trained from birth not to notice anyone else’s sex, and to conceal your own. Mentioning someone’s gender in email or Chit-Chat will result in the offending message being deleted; you will receive at least a warning, and possibly a ban if this is not your first offense. Speaking openly about your sex or that of others carries with it severe social merit penalties.

Dressing in a revealing fashion is forbidden; if your breasts or hips can be detected beneath your clothing, or you wear tight pants with a visible bulge below your waistline, you may be cited for indecency. Facial hair is considered vile and disgusting, and almost everyone has it permanently removed. Although it is impossible to fully conceal the differences between males and females, you are taught from birth not to notice. If you do happen to notice, and your reaction is one of excitement, you may be cited for ogling. The AIs know what you are looking at and can measure your pulse and blood pressure.

Moderation and Neutering

Almost everyone undergoes a medical procedure called moderation during adolescence. This is a series of hormonal and sometimes surgical interventions intended to dampen down the biological differences between the sexes, aiming to create a uniformly androgynous population. These treatments reduce the size of the larynx in men and the width of the hips in women, as well as suppressing the development of breasts and reducing the growth of body hair. Height and musculature are also evened out. As mentioned above, facial hair is generally laser-zapped; even a hint of a beard or moustache is considered vile and disgusting. Women become boyish, and men become effeminate; even naked, it can be hard to tell one from the other if one looks only at the upper half of the body.

Moderation also seeks to reduce or eliminate gender preferences in the selection of sex partners. Ideally, everyone ends up perfectly androgynous, perfectly non-binary, perfectly pansexual. The impossibility of forcing everyone into such a state leads to some of the most heinous acts of repression in this society.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Genderism often manifests itself as an unnatural sexual preference for people of one sort over the other; it is treated as a mental illness. Diagnosis is simple: the health monitors implanted in your body allow the AIs to determine what arouses you, and what does not. If a strong asymmetry is detected, you will be watched, and your choices of sex partners closely examined.

If diagnosed with genderism, you have two choices: you may undergo a fresh round of treatment (remoderation) to even out your sexual preferences, or you may undergo neutering, which will avoid the issue entirely. If you refuse treatment, you will be banned from Matchmaker, and if you then caught in an act of illicit intimacy you will be listed as a sex offender and exiled to the Outer Districts. You will definitely lose your job.