Charles F. Kettering was the head of research at GM from 1920–1947, during the golden age of that now bankrupt company. Said Kettering: “Great steps in human progress are made by things that don’t work the way philosophy thought they should. If things always worked the way they should, you could write the history of the world from now on. But they don’t, and it is those deviations from the normal that make human progress.” Kettering recognized an important principle that once defined America, but has since been forgotten – the idea of progress.
Fast-forward to today and you’ll notice that nothing is working the way it should. Our debt is massive with a large portion owed to our biggest competitor — China. Our car companies, once the beacon of industry, are now bankrupt. Our banking system is entirely broken. We even ban willing men and woman from serving in our military, just because of their sexual orientation. America is faltering. No longer viewed as the big kid on campus, we are forced to take a step back and analyze ourselves.
One place in dire need of a new direction: the rights afforded to transgender individuals. Society has decided that the clothes you wear, the way you act, even the pitch of your voice must conform to a strict gender-based guideline. Males are in one column and females in the other, and yet no one can present an adequate definition of those terms.
One could point to chromosomes: XY is male, and XX is female. Then where do we place those born XXY? Perhaps you chose to define gender by reproductive organs. In that case, what gender are those born with both, or none? Do you consider physical appearance indicative of gender? What if you chose to dress or act the ‘opposite’ of what you’re ‘naturally’ supposed to? Does this mean your gender also changes?
It seems apparent that the current terms — male and female — are not inclusive. When a “male” dressed as a “female” (or vice versa) participates in day-to-day activities, “he” finds “himself” ridiculed, and often physically confronted. For this reason, perhaps it is time that Southern Utah University adds equal protection for gender identity into the anti-discrimination policy.
There are already two universities in the state of Utah that include gender identity in their policies, with two others actively investigating them as well. Perhaps this is a sign that things aren’t as bleak as they seem, but those universities are, unfortunately, still in the minority. It’s time for the rest of us to step up to the plate.
One day, perhaps, people will realize that a forward and progressive people don’t need to have simple things like gender identity protected. As long as there is a high level of prejudice towards those that don’t fit the norms however, equal protections must be legally mandated.
This is the collective opinion of the members of the SUU Queer Straight Alliance. They can be reached at [email protected].