Editorial: Gender Identity Respect

Editorial: Gender Identity Respect

Eryn McQueen, Reporter

From the moment we’re born, were confined to one binary gender, either female or male. As our lives progress, we get to know ourselves and find out who we are. But not everyone continues to discriminate themselves as male or female.  The issue is, we need to respect individuals who wish not to be catagorized under male and female.

In most cases, the options don’t change as we mature, were given the options of binary genders. This limit isn’t included in all websites and servers however. Facebook created a revised option where one can create a custom gender. This allows people who don’t identify as a binary gender to select their preferred gender.

The common terms to use for nonbinary individuals include, genderqueer, agender, non conforming, gender-expansive, or simply non binary. To refer to them collectively, the LGBT  community is also an option.

As for more specific terms, their are countless. The common ones are listed in the term LGBT, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans. As you get more and more terms, they become confusing. Asking someone what they identify as, or the definition is an accurate way to find out what one person prefers. On a larger scale, definitions provided by LGBT websites or blogs.

Members who are not a part of the LGBT community may find these other options unnecessary.  To be considered nonbinary, a person typically doesn’t consider themselves as completely male or female, also known as non conforming.

However, members of the LGBT community such as our own Chloe Armstrong(9), react negatively. According to Armstrong, when she comes across male or female options, she becomes confused and upset as she doesn’t consider herself one or the other, but rather in between. The term Armstrong identifies as is gender fluid. This means that an individual feels that at any given time they are either female, or male, which is a constant change.

It’s understandable why binary individuals have no interest in pronouns, identities, etc., but one thing I have an issue with, is disrespect. Even though they may not understand or care, does not give them an excuse to mock agenders.

I’m not saying that all binary genders are like this, but I’ve come across a good amount of people who create an identity which makes no sense, just for the laughs. For example, someone saying, “I sexually identity as a bowl of cereal”, may be taken offensive to non conforming individuals. While these remarks are usually not intended to offend, it’s import to keep in mind how others with react.

Digging deeper into something even more confusing, pronouns. Personally, I find pronouns of non binary individuals, very confusing. When I see a physical representation of a female I automatically think she/her pronouns. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I try to refer to the persons preferred pronouns.

Something that’s become more common is asking someone what they identify and what their preferred pronouns are.  Most people tend to assume ones gender by physical appearance which is normal, but it’s polite to ask just in case. If you’re not sure, it’s always safe to use the pronouns they/them.

Furthermore, there are many pronouns that are commonly used for gender-expansive people. So we already know about the typical he, she, hers, his, but what about non conforming?

The most common ones are they/them, which simply states the person, and leaves out gender specifics. As for the rest, they’re a bit harder to understand. Most likely you won’t encounter many people who have complex pronouns.

Discrimination is an entirely different issue. For the most part, disrespect is usually unintentional or for a gag. Discrimination is more aimed towards hateful actions, and remarks. Although it is a major issue for the LGBT community, it’s easier to persuade one who has neautral beleifs, rather than ones who are on the fence or completely disagree altogether.

Overall, even if we don’t understand people that are different than us, we need to respect them. Whether that means using the correct pronouns, or simply acknowledge that they do not identify as a binary gender.