Gender politics, reactions

IÕm hesitant to write this column because IÕm a privileged straight, white, cisgender woman and, as an activist, IÕm aware of the racism and oppression engrained in our society that is often perpetuated by women like me.

IÕm cautious because I want to stand in solidarity with marginalized communities, and I know I should just shut up and listen to those who struggle with discrimination on a daily basis, and I donÕt want to allow myself to use my privilege to cover the voices of those who have been and continue to be oppressed.

Yet I canÕt help but feel overwhelmed with frustration and anger over the words of Joey Brown in his most recent column.

As an opinion columnist, I am going to use my best non-violent communication skills to respond to these articles, and remind Cynic readers that this section is still one that stands for solidarity, respect, acceptance and tolerance.

I would like to start by discussing the complexity of sex, gender, biology, psychology, sociology and culture.

As a whole, Mr. BrownÕs articles clearly are reflective of the culturally constructed gender dichotomy of male and female that we have attempted to engrain in the minds of most of the Western world.

I can therefore try to understand how Mr. Brown could come to such restricting ideas of personal identification, when we live in a society that strongly encourages this false dichotomy.

Yet if Mr. Brown were to study some cultural anthropology he would be exposed to many other cultures all over the world that do not subscribe to this dichotomy, and are in fact far more accepting by nature of identification and physical structure that fall far outside what we would commonly think of as normal.

I would also like to take the time to clarify, that though Mr. Brown doesnÕt see his article as an attack on the transgendered/transsexual population, but rather an indictment of NPR, the general diction of the articles strongly suggests otherwise, whether he intended it to or not.

To elaborate, the consistent usage of masculine gender pronouns in reference to Chelsea Manning, is at best, an ignorant display of his lack in understanding of the nature of gender and sex, and at worst, an attempt to undermine and overrule ChelseaÕs own personal relationship and knowledge with herself.

Mr. Brown again displays his misunderstanding of the world when he attempts to make the comparison between believing you are a dinosaur, and ÒbelievingÓ your physical sex does not correctly align with your gender.

Once again, this is an instance of Mr. Brown positing his provincial beliefs of the ÒcorrectÓ way to be a person, and have a body.

Mr. Brown also explains that biology is the reason he does not see the evolution of transsexualso to be legitimate.

However, when we cite Western medicine and principles of knowledge, or fact, like the knowledge of biology, we are overlooking indigenous knowledge that has been developing since the dawn of time and forcibly establishing ourselves as superior simply because we can.

This ability to permeate every niche of the globe and spread our influence through political and economic systems does not make us right.

In regards to Mr. BrownÕs reaction to being called a bigot; non-violent communication does not condone the usage of slurs. However, the beauty of language, and words like bigot, is that it allows us to incite deep emotions and ideas that have been shaped for centuries through the evolution of a word.

That being said, if one were to attempt to objectively look at the definition of the word bigot, one might articulate that Ms. Mary Kenah hit the nail right on the head.

These words are clearly not enough to say all that I could or would like to say in response to the ideas that have passed through my head after reading ÒA note on gender politics.Ó

As a person living with many other beautiful, unique, fascinating people in the world, itÕs utterly repulsive to see the attempt to invalidate an individualÕs sense of self based solely on the foundation of rigid social structures and an unwillingness to open ones mind to the many possibilities of being.