The Genderbread Person is the best explanation I've found of this.
"Biological sex is the physical sex characteristics you're born with and develop, including genitalia, body shape, voice pitch, body hair, etc"
"Gender identity is how you, in your head, define your gender, based on how much you align (or don't align) with what you understand to be the options for gender."
"Gender expression is the ways you present gender, through you actions, dress, and demeanor, and how those presentations are interpreted based on gender norms."
While we can decouple "lead" and "follow" from sex and gender, those concepts are still pretty closely tied to societal gender norms. Society associates many of the traits we use to describe leading as 'masculine' traits and traits we use to describe following as 'feminine' traits.
So even if we can say that "lead" and "follow" aren't gendered terms, there is still societal pressure on women to choose the "feminine" role and follow and on men to choose the "masculine" role and lead, which is one of the points I think Rebecca was getting at in her article.
However, we can push back on those gender norms in a few ways:
By introducing both dance roles early in a gender (and expression) neutral way and giving our students meaningful choice about which role they want to learn.
We can teach classes on masculine styling and feminine styling for leads and follows and men and women and anybody else. A person can adopt feminine or masculine styling regardless of what gender they identify as or what role they're dancing.
Arguments can also be made for teaching only-male or only-female classes to let people who identify as those genders feel more comfortable exploring their gender expression (burlesque classes come to mind).
Hopefully we'll get to the point where we don't hold negative associations with feminine expression and are comfortable being around people who are different from us, but in the mean time
Also, just as it's important to say "lead" and "follow" instead of "men" and "women" when we're talking about dance roles, it's also important to say "masculine" or "feminine" rather than "lead" or "follow" when we're talking about gender expression.