The shape of one’s reproductive organs does not restrict one’s ability to contribute to a conversation. Seeing advertisements for events such as last week’s male-only flash seminar disappoint me as an intellectual, and a member of the queer community.
What is so divisive about our experiences with different genitalia that we cannot discuss issues ubiquitous to humanity? Being assigned the terms male or female at birth should not limit our interactions with each others’ ideas. A healthy society demands diversity of perspective. Obsession with an us-versus-them psychology establishes precedence for prejudice, misunderstanding, and hatred. It dictates who has the right to speak, and even be present in a given context. At the very least, an us-versus-them worldview establishes a conversation by alienating the Other, working in a paradigm which states that They will not understand.
This mindset also negates the voice and identities of intersex, trans*, and genderqueer 1 individuals. Those who exist outside the binary of cut-and- dry “male” or “female” classification, for whatever reason, are not made welcome under a divisive framework. Their input is not validated.
We can do better than talking only to men about the expectations of manhood, or only to women about how they are affected by state-regulated reproductive choices. I believe these discussions are much more inventive when they include space to say, “I am transgender and have been affected in this way by male gender roles,” or, “I was approaching fatherhood when my life changed in this way because of an abortion.”
If there is a wider variety of perspectives expressed on a given issue, then more creative, well informed, and carefully considered narratives and solutions will develop. I ask that university and student leaders examine the implications of marketing discourse to a chosen set of entitled participants.
1-Intersex refers to individuals born with indeterminate sex organs, or a combination of male and female sex organs or chromosomes. Trans* includes gender non-conforming in- dividuals who may be transgender, transsexual, transvestite, two-spirit, or other identities. Genderqueer is a term that may describe one’s inward gender identity or outward expression, and de- notes a person psychologically outside the gender binary of male and female.
-Randi B. Hagi, Co-Editor In Chief
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