Identification unnecessary in political realm

The word “anti-discrimination” is usually something to celebrate. But two new anti-discrimination bills passed in California on Monday might not be so positive. Don’t get me wrong — we all deserve our rights. But the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) and Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433) are less about rights and equality than about making it easier for people to declare they are transgender.

That’s not to say people who redefine their gender shouldn’t express themselves, or that they do not deserve the same rights.

Esther Cheong | Daily Trojan

They do. But is it really necessary to create a law to expedite that transition?

Does there have to be a specific prohibition against discriminating for “gender identity and expression”? Surely there are larger problems to worry about.

The truth is, many people might not be comfortable accepting others for their personal decisions. While metropolitan cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles tend to be more liberal and accepting of an individual’s preferred sexual orientation or identity, college students become isolated in our university bubbles and assume that everyone should support these laws because they fall under the category of “anti-discrimination.” We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender.

In an ideal world, everybody gets along and there’s no such thing as discrimination, period. And it’s a constant struggle to respect everybody’s rights, including transgender people. But there’s a fine line between imposing and accepting. Changing one’s gender is a personal decision in most cases, and people who choose to identify themselves in a different way need to be aware of the effects of such decisions.

The law functions to ensure order in society, but there are some arenas the government has no place in. Surely we all deserve protection under the law, but everything should be in moderation. The problem with legally allowing people to freely and easily declare themselves as transgender is that not everybody is willing to accept the classification. It’s just reality.

It’s now easier to change your gender on your passport than it is to change your name. This raises the question of whether the California government is focusing on the right issues to target discrimination. A multitude of factors, including minority status socioeconomic status, and education might have much to do with why, according to the Transgender Law Center, 23 percent of transgender people earn wages below the poverty level.

Perhaps it’s not the state’s place to tell employers, teachers and other people in society they must be blind to an individual’s personal decision.

The much broader category of minority rights in general and the complex socioeconomic factors associated with “coming out” are more appropriate avenues to deal with prejudice and discrimination.

So instead of making laws about very narrow, personal issues like whether we identify as male or female, maybe our representatives can actually fix our broken budget, or realize that there are worse forms of injustice than discrimination against whom people choose to be.


Engie Salama is a freshman majoring in biochemistry.

167 replies
  1. Monica
    Monica says:

    I can’t believe the Daily Trojan would publish this junk. Clearly…this freshman has a lot of learning to do. I would recommend you taking some Gender Studies course.

    Your opinions are so warped… and if anything… you are the one discriminating here.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I think it’s apparent to most, but just in case, I’d like to make it clear that this article does not represent myself as a Muslim or all other Muslims, but is simply the opinion of the author.

    Muslims, as other minority communities, have benefited greatly from anti-discrimination legislation. If anything, it would benefit us more if we began campaigning alongside the LGBT community to further protections for minorities.

    How neat would it be to see us working together on current issues affecting minority communities like anti-bullying legislation? Very.

    The values I gleaned from my faith encourage me to take up the struggle for all that face discrimination. Not just myself.

  3. Drew
    Drew says:

    This is a very ignorant article. I am appalled that the writer assumes that gender identity is simply a choice and that the government has “bigger fish to fry”. I hope the writer can use there time here at USC to reframe their paradigm and perceptions of gender identity as well as the history of social justice in the US.

  4. Support
    Support says:

    This article was published in the opinion column on purpose and she is free to say whatever she wants! This is her opinion and I do not see why anyone would get offended if it is merely a stated opinion of one individual. Also, as a heads up for everyone, this is not the view of all Muslims and never will be. This is only the author’s persepctive on things and should not be miscontrued as an Islamic persepective at all.

  5. Jean Guerrero
    Jean Guerrero says:

    “But the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) and Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433) are less about rights and equality than about making it easier for people to declare they are transgender.”

    Clearly the writer of this piece doesn’t understand what the words “rights” or “equality” mean, and this very sentence proves it (in the lede! this should be embarrassing for the editors). As a non-transgender person, my opportunities for legally declaring my identity are abundant. It’s not just easy — I don’t have to think about it, period. So if we’re making it easier for transgender people, then of course it’s all about rights and equality.

    I’m a former DT writer, USC alumn, and a proud Trojan but like my fellow commentators I find this piece totally repugnant, ignorant, embarrassing and saddening.

    The Daily Trojan can’t let pieces run on the basis of being controversial when they’re completely unfounded and misinformed. I understand that it’s an “opinion” piece but come on, show some intelligence.

    We have one of the best journalism schools in the country, and editors of this campus newspaper should heighten their standards massively or risk the reputation of our reporters-to-be. The Annenberg School for Communication helped get me where I am now, and I think it should have a lot more control over the Daily Trojan so that the quality of its journalism students gets reflected in its newspaper.

    Because right now, it seems to be a platform for ranting bigotry.

  6. ??
    ?? says:

    I can’t believe this was ever allowed to be published. For having such a good journalism program at USC, smut like this is becoming a pattern, and that’s terribly upsetting. I’m completely ashamed that this will be seen in association with our school, and I hope they print/tweet/facebook/put on their website a formal apology right away. It’s the only way they will be able to save some of their dignity as a publication.

  7. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I hope when applying for jobs this article comes up on a search by employers. I know personally, I would never hire you after reading this article.

    I have a good friend from college that is trans, along with my cousins father and am completely shocked that a black woman like yourself could be so intolerant. I don’t often wish bad things for anyone, but after you writing this article I hope you are let go from the DT. I often read the DT (being a USC grad) and I am pondering not reading it anymore if they allow this garbage to be published. I have been waiting for a formal apology and have yet to see one, if I don’t see one by tomorrow it will be the last day ever that I read this paper (after reading it for 8 years).

  8. Erika Zerda
    Erika Zerda says:

    To the author who wrote this, I recommend you to take SWMS 355: Transgender Studies with Prof. Chris Freeman before you write anymore pieces on transgender issues. I am apalled that the Daily Trojan would publish such an article; however, at the same time it is very reassuring to see such a strong response from other students supporting and advocating for the rights of the LGTBQ community.
    On the other hand, I’d also recommend that the Daily Trojan require its authors to first take Writ 140 prior to submitting their articles. In addition, the Daily Trojan needs to do something to remedy this- allowing something such as “We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender” to be published is equivalent to someone during the civil right movements in the South during segregation to say “Instead of allowing African Americans to have the same educational opportunities as White Americans, instead be more accepting of the people who are not comfortable with allowing African Americans the same equal rights…” SAY WHAT? That’s just one example of many.
    Please, educate yourself for the remainder of your time here at USC.

  9. Alexia
    Alexia says:

    I 100% support you exercising your freedom of speech. That being said, what the hell?! I can’t believe you actually attached your name to this ignorant article. I am embarrassed for you and USC right now. I would write a novel about everything that’s wrong with this editorial, but I’m pretty sure the other 150 or so comments before mine have it covered.

  10. USC
    USC says:

    The Daily Trojan executive staff members do not seem to understand what is going on. I hope the paper did not publish that ridiculous opinion piece to increase readership of the paper. DT is not MTV and no need to create a show like “Jersey Shore.” I understand readership of DT has declined over the years because of its poor contents that are unrelated to students but creating controversy is not the way to increase readership. Why don’t you learn from Oprah Winfrey and continue the paper with “good intention” without worrying about readership? When your readers feel the connection with DT, then more people will read your paper.

    Regardless, I highly recommend DT to issue a statement regarding the controversy.

  11. ks
    ks says:

    This is a true embarrassment for USC and especially the DT. The only way that I got through it was because I was so angry and my heart was racing. CIvil rights are basically the most important issue at any time, it doesn’t matter that the budget isn’t balanced, they have nothing to do with each other. The fact that she described gender as a “narrow personal issue” was particularly revolting.

    Please DT, edit better (maybe not let freshmen write their first year?)

  12. USC
    USC says:

    The Daily Trojan Executive Staff Members need to take responsibility of their failures and Either resign immediately or issue a letter of apology.
    I am so ashamed to be a Trojan because of Daily Trojan.

  13. C
    C says:

    what she says is true though. in an ideal world everyone would get along but she’s right that in reality people really don’t feel comfortable with certain things and to make them laws might not be the best idea.
    i don’t agree with the “we have more things to worry about than this transgender business” because i believe that discrimination is a very big problem regardless of what “kind” of person is being discriminated against. but she is being honest and i don’t think she should be reprimanded for that. everyone seems to be freaking out because she isn’t being “politically correct” and for just stating her opinion.
    the article IS under “opinion” and i thought everyone was free to state their opinion without being met with so much hate.

    • DTF
      DTF says:

      You forgot that the opinions are only allowed when they agree with the self-righteous (often hypocritical as well) crowd that apparently make up a decent percentage of the USC student body.

      • Jess
        Jess says:

        All opinions are allowed but people with dissenting opinions are free to express their dissent. Welcome to the Internet.

  14. TrojanAlum
    TrojanAlum says:

    As an Annenberg grad, this article is so completely embarrassing it makes me want to call up some faculty I’m really close with.

    First of all, the law is not in place just so transgendered individuals can tell everyone they are transgendered. It’s so they can’t be fired or expelled simply for coming out. As a PhD student in psychology, I can tell you beyond a doubt that transgendered people do not “choose” to be that way, nor do gays, lesbians or bisexual folks.

    Really the fundamental issue the author needs to re-educate herself about is contained in the line, “Surely we all deserve protection under the law, but everything should be in moderation.” If she believes that basic human rights should be given “in moderation,” she needs to seriously reconsider emailing her high school civics and history instructors to get a brief refresher course.

    Every current and former Trojan should expect a retraction and an apology immediately. This is a disgrace to our university and Trojan Family.

    • Monica
      Monica says:

      I agree with you… A retraction and a serious apology from the author and Daily Trojan needs to be given.

  15. N
    N says:

    This is ridiculous, uninformed and offensive,

    “Changing one’s gender is a personal decision in most cases, and people who choose to identify themselves in a different way need to be aware of the effects of such decisions.”

    The effects that they have to be aware of is that they will face people, such as this author, who discriminate freely against those who do not conform to their narrow-minded scope of what is right.

  16. (J)
    (J) says:

    I don’t think that this random freshman knows what she’s talking about. Declaring oneself as transgendered is an incredibly difficult and profound decision, and if someone has the strength to declare themselves as such, that person should have every right to change his or her registered gender. This article is garbage, and the author is an incredible bigot.

  17. Sophia
    Sophia says:

    Are you kidding me? It doesn’t sound like you have any grasp of the concept of human rights. Why even bother going to college, seeing as you obviously have no use for diversity or tolerance?

  18. Marky Mark
    Marky Mark says:

    Oh COME ON people. I think the “silent majority” of us have grown weary of LGBT issues and news being shoved down our throat for the beginning of the 21st century. I am not part of the LGBT community, I do not have any family members or friends who are and I am tired about hearing about this event, that parade, and the thousands of dollars wasted in the student government budget on these special interest groups instead of on programs that benefit the USC community as a whole. For once, someone writes an article which espouses the beliefs that many of us cannot express without being ostracized as “ignorant” and that is: WE DONT CARE. We have our own lives to live and you need to stop shoving your agenda in our faces because that is just going to turn us off more.

    • Aaeriele
      Aaeriele says:

      The entire point of the laws that were passed was to prevent your majority from ‘shoving your agenda’ in the lives of the minority. If all you’re doing is living your own life, the laws will have zero effect on you, so why are you posting here?

    • Jess
      Jess says:

      Yeah, we minority types are icky and should take a back seat to the right and property majority. I don’t know if you’ll be able to read this all the way back in 1890, though.

      You know… an early pioneer of computer science (frequently called the father of computer science) was Alan Turing, a gay man. It’s a good thing he got much of his groundbreaking work done early in his life or we’d probably be about 50 years behind where we are now. He had a sad story… see, homosexuality was considered a criminal offense back in the early 1950s and he had to undergo chemical castration through treatment with female hormone to avoid a prison sentence. He ended up committing suicide 2 years later, about 2 weeks before his 42nd birthday.

      So, no, I will not apologize for standing up for LGBT rights and hopefully making people open their minds and actually think so that this kind of stupid miscarriage of justice will never happen again.

  19. Sophia
    Sophia says:

    It’s so unnerving that this level of ignorance still exists at top universities, and it’s embarrassing that Ms. Salama even got into USC.

  20. NP
    NP says:

    TO THE DAILY TROJAN: This article is one of the most offensive and disgusting pieces I have ever – in 4 years – read in the Daily Trojan. I understand the value in sparking and representing diverse opinions, but where is your conscience when it comes to publishing such a SEXIST and TRANSPHOBIC article? I HIGHLY doubt you would publish an op-ed that promotes the disenfranchisement of racial, ethnic or religious groups. By publishing this article, your publication once again proves the prevalence and acceptability of SEX AND GENDER DISCRIMINATION in society. I hope you’re proud. WE DEMAND AN APOLOGY.

    TO ENGIE SALAMA: YOU are full of hate. YOU are the reason why these kinds of legal protections are passed in the first place. YOU want to make a public spectacle of your sexist beliefs, rather than having modesty and allowing people to peacefully live their lives without concern of ridicule and fear. YOUR beliefs promote hate but they will only make US stronger – I hope you’re proud of yourself.

  21. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    I agree with the general consensus of the comments below*** (NOT above)

    When I wrote the comment, the students reactions were above me.

  22. Brooke
    Brooke says:

    I agree with the general consensus of the comments above. I understand that the “opinion” section of the DT is, of course, opinion. However, I am saddened by the sentiments expressed in this article, as I thought we were as a whole a more progressive university. I challenge the person who wrote this article to go talk to a transgender individual and talk to them about their experience with transitioning. I hope they find their “opinion” on this matter to be changed.

  23. Josh
    Josh says:

    This article is an embarrassment to the Daily Trojan, to the University of Southern California, and to the entire Trojan Family. Ms. Salama needs to write a formal apology, as does the editor of the Daily Trojan.

  24. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I am submitting this to the DT. Although it won’t be published for copyright reasons, I hope the person that reads it feels like an asshole:

    The word “anti-discrimination” is usually something to celebrate. But one new discriminatory article was published in the Daily Trojan on November 14, 2011 may not be so positive. Don’t get me wrong — we all deserve our freedom of speech. But thinking the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) and Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433) are less about rights and equality than about making it easier for people to declare they are transgender is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever read.

    That’s not to say people who are grossly misinformed about transgender issues shouldn’t express themselves, or that they do not deserve the same rights.

    They do. But is it really necessary to express you bigotry on a college newspaper website?

    Does there have to be an influx of comments and emails to a person for them to realize that they are offending an entire population of people? Surely there are larger problems to worry about, like, I don’t know, LGBT suicides caused by bullying.

    The truth is, many people might enjoy publishing an article about how they are not comfortable accepting others for their personal decisions. While USC students tend to care about the choices and feelings of other (November is “No Gender November”, how ironic!), transgender college students become isolated when people openly write about taking away their rights. We should instead realize that transgender people are exactly that: people.

    In an ideal world, everybody gets along and newspapers don’t allow for publications that are incredibly offensive, period. And it shouldn’t be a constant struggle to respect everybody’s rights, including transgender people, since they are humans and so are everyone else. But there’s a fine line between opinion and public discrimination. Changing one’s gender is a personal decision in most cases, and people should have the right to choose who they want to be, as long as it makes them happy and does not hurt anyone else.

    The Constitution functions to protect such rights as freedom of speech, but there are some arenas that should not allow for mass publication of discriminatory opinions. Surely we all deserve our freedom of speech, but why do we need to bring down an entire group of people and their supporters. The problem with legally allowing people to openly and easily write hurtful articles is that not every transgender person is willing to be shamed publicly. It’s just reality.

    It’s now easier to publish your opinion without removing your name from the article. This raises the question of whether newspapers are considering the right issues to publish. A multitude of people, including alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students of all genders, are horribly revolted by this article. According to the website, over 100 people cared to express their distaste about the article.

    Perhaps it’s not a cis female’s place to discuss who deserves rights and who does not.

    The month of November came with a campaign called “No Gender November”, which aims to celebrate the rights and people associated with the LGBTQ and Ally community.

    So instead of bringing people down and taking away their rights, maybe we should all take a moment to realize that we are all human, we all have hearts, we all have feelings, and realize and fight to change injustice and discrimination against whom people choose to be.

  25. MB
    MB says:

    One silver lining to the embarrassment that is this poorly conceived and unwisely published article is the outpouring of support for the Trans community that the rest of the SC students who have commented here have demonstrated. As a Trojan alum, many of the comments I’ve read above demonstrate that, unlike the ill-informed author of this opinion piece, the majority of USC students are capable of participating in an intelligent and compassionate discourse on topics critically important to our generation. I hope that the many comments in support of the Trans and LGBT communities demonstrate to those on our campus and in our community that we, as a school and a student body, do not support ignorant and hateful speech (not to mention that we are also capable of grammatically-correct and logically-sound argumentation…seriously DT editorial board, no one can identify run-on sentences and comma splices any more? eesh) nor do we support those who would deem fit to publish such audacious affronts to our intellect. Daily Trojan, it’s time to step up and retract this shameful piece.

  26. Alex
    Alex says:

    “realize that there are worse forms of injustice than discrimination against whom people choose to be.”

    This is actually one of the most disgusting lines I have ever heard. Do human rights mean nothing to the author. Seriously, there are no actual points in this article besides “i feel weird about transgenders” and “we have other things to worry about.” When your own human rights are in question, it becomes a big deal.

    Shame on you, and shame on the newspaper for publishing this disgusting example of bigotry.

  27. Ian
    Ian says:

    “We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender.”

    Why? I’m all for gently helping people into the 21st century, but I do not accommodate discrimination.

  28. Kylie
    Kylie says:

    As an alum of USC and someone who wants peace and equality for everyone, I cannot believe the editors of the DT would actually allow something as thoughtless and discriminating towards the LGBT community as this mindless jumble of bigotry to be published, but apparently I’m wrong. This article is floating all over Facebook and if it’s not on twitter, it will be soon, so it’s in the paper’s best interest to retract the article, print an apology, and do MAJOR damage control, although all of that will be too little, too late. What a disgrace.

  29. Emily
    Emily says:

    I have never before been embarrassed to call myself a Trojan. This article is hurtful and woefully ignorant of an issue very personal to many people. Hopefully the author is removed from the DT staff, because this article demonstrates serious lack of maturity required for quality journalism.

  30. Becky
    Becky says:

    Not only was this ignorant, it was poorly written. If you are going to take an unpopular, ignorant viewpoint, at least try to back it up properly.

  31. Whitney
    Whitney says:

    Is it really so much to ask that I be protected from arbitrary eviction or termination simply because of my transgender status? I mean, how would you feel if your employer walked up to you and handed you walking papers because you’re a woman, or your landlord gave you an eviction notice solely because you’re Muslim? Would that be okay, since you are arguing we need to sympathize with those that aren’t accepting.

    Or are you simply trying to assert your personal intolerance of trans people by stating that it’s okay to not sympathize with that community because you don’t sympathize with it. Would you also argue intolerance of gays, women, Muslims, children, unemployed, or the disabled is proper? To exclude them from civil rights generally accepted by all people simply because they’ve accepted themselves for who they are and are done suffering through the dysphoria?

    And what’s with the fear for a trans person being able to declare themselves easier? Oh no, they can start HRT without jumping through hoops for half a year. As it stood trans people generally had to seek counseling for a minimum of three months before they could even begin treatment, and even then there were immense obstacles. These bills only serve to reduce the redundant red tape designed to make sure people are sure of what they’re already sure of, and to protect people who don’t identify cleanly as their biological sex, be it transsexualism or any of the other flavors under the transgender umbrella. Like I said, being in constant fear for your job over who you are is a rather awful thing. Think if you had to keep the fact that you were a woman a secret. I’m sure that would be the pinnacle of “tolerating those who refuse to tolerate”.

  32. Sufficiently Surprised
    Sufficiently Surprised says:

    Okay DT. You got me. To read such a frighteningly ignorant piece in a newspaper I had such a good opinion of is…rather disappointing. Aside from the inaccuracy of every point Engie attempts to make, this article is highly offensive to anyone who has ever suffered from any type of discrimination. Our biggest fear as humans, Engie included, should be statements and beliefs like the ones expressed in this article. If a person can so whole-heartedly convince themselves that their specific type of discrimination is okay and tolerable…then we’re in big trouble. Our goal should be to eradicate this kind of discrimination, because it masquerades as accepting and friendly. In my opinion, that is the worst and most dangerous discrimination of all.

    That having been said, Engie is merely ignorant on this topic. She seems aware that discrimination in some forms is bad and intolerable, and so hope for her eyes widening just a little further exists. I think it is more a fault of the Daily Trojan, who’s JOB it is to make sure that ignorant people don’t get to put their biased opinions out into the open like such. They have seriously made an error…purposeful or not…and I fear that their slackness might give Engie a ruder wake-up call than she can handle. Regardless, the call is necessary and I look forward to the day when she is properly enlightened. As for the DT, complex bureaucratic machines are harder to crack. When your motives are to gain attention, values rarely come into play, and I’m afraid to say that if notoriety was the goal with this clever piece, then DT has definitely won.

    Poor Engie, a pawn in game much greater than her narrow mind can currently comprehend. I wonder how many copies were picked up today…

  33. Steve
    Steve says:

    You know who I discriminate against? Morons. Which is why it’s so depressing that I see so many among my fellow Trojans. Sad.

  34. Phil
    Phil says:

    The Daily Trojan editors should be the ones held accountable. Their names indirectly stand behind the newspaper, as well as do the names of all the students attending USC – including mine. My name, simply through the fact that I attend USC, was indirectly attached to this article, and I do not appreciate that. I chose this university in part due to its official stance of accepting the LGBT community wholeheartedly. Of course, it would be very foolish to expect that every one of the 16,000 undergraduate students would be as welcoming and comfortable with the accepting stance that the university as a whole takes.

    I do agree that people are entitled to their opinions, no matter what opinions they might have. However, the Daily Trojan spent part of my activities and programming fees promoting this opinion, and I do not approve of that kind of action.

    I do not blame Salama – she was uninformed and most likely did not expect such a strong reaction from the community. However, I do very strongly hold accountable the editors of the Daily Trojan. They should know better if they are in such a position of power. They have put the article’s author in a dangerous and uncomfortable situation that she might not have been fully prepared for when she was submitting the article for publication. If this article was published in order to present controversial opinions to gain more readers and more attention for a silly competition (see Editor in Chief Asher Feldman’s retweet today: “Follow @dailytrojan: #TwitterWar ends Wed. We’ve gained more than 1,000, but we’re still trailing behind Daily Bruin #beatthebruins #retweet”), I am truly disappointed and would like to let the Daily Trojan know that this is not a way to gain readers. Instead, this is how you lose them.

    How can we be even remotely considered as a respectable university with these kinds of leadership methods?

    • Kim
      Kim says:

      How dare you. This comment was completely uncalled for. Shame on your for your racist and sexist remarks that have absolutely NOTHING to do with this article. You’re the ignorant one.

      • woo
        woo says:

        1. definitely not racist
        2. attacking her sense of conventionality and her views on sexism. she clearly makes an impression that she believes in gender roles and stereotypes. thus, she should stay where she believes a woman belongs… and stay out of political matters that will definitely spark conflict and definitely should not write publicly of her opinion in a large metropolitan city that is made up of mostly liberals.

        “The problem with legally allowing people to freely and easily declare themselves as transgender is that not everybody is willing to accept the classification.”

        what. yepz, i’m the ignorant one.

        • Sarah
          Sarah says:

          You really should refrain from making woefully ignorant remarks about women. And if you are going to make a “woman” joke, try to think of one that is a little ore creative, at least. Try your best to think out of the box, as hard as that must be for you to do.

          • woo
            woo says:

            1. i am a girl and believe people should be able to live the way they want, no matter their gender or other life choices
            2. not making a joke, was telling her to go back to where she probably believes a woman belongs

  35. Human
    Human says:

    this is like a really bad last minute, bias WRIT 140 essay that deserves an F

    There is no validation or reasoning to it, no refutation and no account for audience

    This is not what USC is about….so embarassing

    “if you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all”

  36. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    It’s not a decision, it’s inherent.

    There’s more I want to say, but I feel like everyone summed it up pretty well.

    You are a completely ignorant person who is clearly out of touch with today’s society.

  37. transphobia
    transphobia says:

    Gender is a function of DNA. If you really want to transgender, the technology is not yet available. So what we have is people using drugs, laws and cosmetic surgery to help keep the illusion alive. I’m all for dress up, but please be honest about your DNA assigned gender.

    BTW, can we really afford laws like this when our budget is a massive sink hole with our infrastructure crumbling and the state depopulating because of high taxes?

  38. None
    None says:

    replace thenew laws with equality laws and ‘transgendered people’ with blacks….
    reread and think about it

    i could say so much more but let’s just start there. shall we?

  39. Anon
    Anon says:

    The fact that a fellow student would write and publish this in the DT is embarrassing. I hope the author has a chance to read all of these comments and realizes what a close-minded bigot she is. SHAME ON YOU!

  40. Camila Navarro
    Camila Navarro says:

    This article is a disgrace. As a fellow USC student I am offended and saddened by these views that seem to casually mitigate the struggles of transgendered people and by extension those of other minorities in the quest of social justice, and even more perturbed by the fact that this university publication saw it fit to publish such bigotry. In a world where corporate greed snuffs out human rights as often and brutally as it can, every single piece of legislation that aims to protect these rights is to be celebrated, not poo poo’d at by some privileged student who has determined that some people are not deserving of this fundamental protection. Shame on you, Engie and shame on the DT as well.

  41. Gool
    Gool says:

    DailyTrojan, would you print an article against Jewish, Black or Mexican rights? NO! Then why the hell would you go ahead and print this garbage?

  42. Andres
    Andres says:

    “Racists have a right to be racists and we should respect them – nazis have a right to be nazis and we should respect them – homophobes, and transophobes have a right to hate so we should impede on the happiness of large groups of people to make sure that I can sleep well at night knowing that society is continuing to impede their happiness and well being – HATERS HAVE RIGHTS TO, YOU KNOW? I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO HATE AND IMPEDE.”

    The nerve of this girl.

  43. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Wow. Between the current economic situation and that whole civil rights thing, you’d think we’d all have figured out by now that a laissez faire approach to really important sh*t ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    Also, about that fallacious idea that everything else is screwed up, so the “little” things have to stay that way for now…

    First of all, this isn’t little to anyone suffering discrimination. For the rest of us, though: as far as I can see, the “biggies” (war, economy, environment, congress) are well-nigh unfathomable. Solutions to them? God knows. But issues like this are things that we can resolve right now. And if even half the statistics flying around this board are true, we’d best be gettin’ busy.

  44. A
    A says:

    As a former DT employee I find this article appalling and embarrassing. I can’t even begin to tackle all the logical fallacies here. For readers out there, this piece in no way reflects the beliefs of most DT contributors or USC community; merely this author’s incredible ignorance.

  45. Anne
    Anne says:

    How ignorant. If only you could walk in the shoes of a transgender person for a day or week and learn how much this issue really, really matters.

  46. Katie P.
    Katie P. says:

    First of all, I am extremely glad to the see the outcry against this article. Considering we are ‘SC, a college that is incredibly rich with diversity, I was appalled that this article was published.

    Please, everyone, write a letter to the editor expressing your outrage. Make your voice heard. Ignorance should never be encouraged, it should be fought.

    DISGUSTED says:

    I can’t believe the Daily Trojan would allow such a blatantly offensive article to be published. I understand that op-eds are opinion pieces, but I am distraught that this opinion is now linked to our great university. I hope that you will do the right thing and remove this article and no longer invite this author to share their intolerance and sheer ignorance with our student body.

  48. Rhea
    Rhea says:

    I would hope there is some kind of counter-editorial in the DT.

    To the author, I’m a PhD Student at Annenberg. I am trans. If there is any confusion at all as to why your opnion piece has garnered so much negative reaction, I am more than willing to explicate.

    I’m certainly not the only trans* or gender-variant individual on campus who is willing to educate you and explain why your position is rooted in blatant prejudice and blindness to systems of oppression for all marginalized groups.

  49. Alexandra
    Alexandra says:

    This article was brought to my attention by my brother, a senior at the Viterbi School of Engineering. I am not even a student at USC and I am embarrassed for the faculty, staff, and student body regarding this ignorant article.

  50. Hayley
    Hayley says:

    The author says, “In an ideal world, everybody gets along and there’s no such thing as discrimination, period.” If she believed that, she’d welcome any legislation that reaches toward that ideal world.

    This article is depressing, but the outpouring of comments in disagreement with the article is uplifting. Keep em coming, Trojans!

  51. Dan
    Dan says:

    I admire the author’s courage for attaching her real name to this ignorant, bigoted, disgusting screed. This is an embarrassment to the university and I can only imagine the kind of s**storm brewing for this girl.

  52. Kate
    Kate says:

    This is incredibly offensive and an embarrassment to the Daily Trojan and to USC. A retraction and apology should be printed immediately. Who was the editor who approved this?? Is there no oversight at all?

    • Rhea
      Rhea says:

      Apparently the editor felt it would be balanced to have a “provocative opinion published”. Said editor also felt it was appropriate to tell the audience at the Trans Town Hall Event on Monday about this. To say I was struck speechless was an understatement.

  53. Maria - alum '10
    Maria - alum '10 says:

    “…and people who choose to identify themselves in a different way need to be aware of the effects of such decisions.”

    As far as I know, identifying to the gender of your choice/comfort/happiness/peace of mind should NEVER be considered a decision that begets consequences.

    I am personally deeply offended by this piece, as a Hispanic cisgender female. And even more outraged that a female member of a minority, who exercises her civil right to wear a headscarf, can express such trans-phobic and bigoted opinions in the Daily Trojan, which is a constant source of education and enlightenment to the younger Trojan generations and a reflection of the opinions of our campus as a whole.

    I demand an apology/retraction immediately. Speech like this has no place in a college newspaper, it even has absolutely no place in the world of 2011.

    • Nelson TheRobot
      Nelson TheRobot says:

      What is the definition of the term “cisgender female”? Doesn’t that just mean “female”?

      • K.
        K. says:

        Cisgender means they identify as the sex they were assigned at birth.
        You do realize that the way you worded it, that only cis females are female and trans people are somehow less right? That trans people have to be dfferentiated as trans but cis people don’t because they are ‘normal’.

        • Nelson TheRobot
          Nelson TheRobot says:

          Except that there is a societal norm, if only defined by the massive majority. If a transgender woman wants to be seen as a female, she should call herself a “female.” Arbitrary titles and prefixes don’t signify social justice–they just perpetuate the problem. If someone wants to call themselves “transgender,” that’s their right, but if they want to be seen as a “normal (fe)male,” they should just call themselves that.

          • Aaeriele
            Aaeriele says:

            They do! Most trans individuals only specify the ‘trans’ prefix when it’s actually relevant to the conversation at hand. (You know, like, when they’re a transgender individual commenting on an article about transgender rights laws.)

        • DTF
          DTF says:

          How is someone assigned a sex at birth? It’s like, the doctor says to the mom (or is it cismom?), hey lady (or cislady) your androgynous baby like life form seems to have what we in the medical community a penis. Therefore, we’re going to give him lifelong homework to complete the assignment of being male (or cismale). We’re going to assign him the ability to grow hair on his chest, on his face, on his arms, and on his back. We’re also going to assign him the ability to use his penis to pee. If he can’t successfully complete the assignment of using his penis to excrete bodily fluids, he gets an F and has to start peeing out of his (or cishis) anus.

          I think I would get a C as a cispeer.

  54. Nelson TheRobot
    Nelson TheRobot says:

    To be completely honest, I don’t understand all the negative reactions to this article. More than that–I don’t think they’re right. This is an opinion article, and, as such, it’s supposed to describe the writer’s opinion. Disagreeing with the article doesn’t warrant personal attacks on the writer OR on the newspaper as a whole. I don’t agree with the points made here, either, but rather than make ad hominem arguments and slurs, I’ll probably discuss it with my friends. Half of the purpose of freedom of speech is to read and be exposed to viewpoints we don’t agree with. If you’re going to be offended by opinion articles, then don’t read them.

    • Aaeriele
      Aaeriele says:

      “Tolerating intolerance is not, in fact, tolerance. It is merely the passive-aggressive enabling of intolerance.”

      Freedom of speech applies to government restrictions against private publishing. It’s not an excuse to toss editorial standards out the window.

      • Jim Johnson
        Jim Johnson says:

        Opinion articles should share opinions. They won’t always be the same as yours. That doesn’t mean everyone should freak out.

        • Perplexed Trojan
          Perplexed Trojan says:

          People are not upset because she has an opposing opinion, that is not the inherent issue. The issue is that this opinion happens to be hateful, filled with bigotry and defends discrimination. This isn’t exactly a petty disagreement. An entire group of people are being marginalized.

    • Perplexed Trojan
      Perplexed Trojan says:

      Umm even in my high school newspaper our editor would not allow us to say blatant lies like “most people choose” and “its easier to change your gender on your passport” without citing where we got this information…….What goes into a newspaper shows what kind of standards that paper holds. We have every right to attack the paper for publishing this as it is a reflection of the paper whether you want to admit it or not. And the above poster is right…They had a right to publish and write this article, and we have a right to call it idiotic.

  55. EK
    EK says:

    “Does there have to be a specific prohibition against discriminating for ‘gender identity and expression?’ Surely there are larger problems to worry about.”

    Engie, what’s more important than making sure every member of our society – whether she be an ethnic minority, a homeless, mentally or physically handicapped – has the same indivisible rights under the law? Isn’t that the foundation on which this country was built upon? Certain members of our society are denied the basic human rights that you and I don’t think twice about because they express their gender in a way that’s not considered orthodox. I see a blaring problem there, one that’s more urgent than our broken budget.

  56. Dan
    Dan says:

    Wow. Just… wow. I think I’d get mad, but it’s just so poorly written and argued that I can’t. The Daily Trojan needs a new editor.

  57. Wow
    Wow says:

    Wow…just wow.

    ‘We should be more accepting of those who aren’t comofortable.’

    That’s the problem. That’s all people ever do when they discriminate. Maybe if we allowed trans people to not be discriminated against, people would realize ‘Gee, maybe trans people aren’t as scary as I thought they were.’ A lot of the times people wouldn’t even know they are trans BECAUSE it is easier to change your id. So if they don’t know people are trans, where’s the problem? That’s right, there is none. Don’t defend the bigots.

    ‘Surely there are bigger problems to worry about?’ Could you not be anymore ignorant? Seriously, that is just pure ignorance. You get to be ignorant because you are not a part of this group. Do you not see that?

  58. James
    James says:

    “We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender.”

    Before this legislation, the entire world pandered to those people. I think generally we are more than accepting of bigots, dear Engie. I recommend you read Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein.

  59. Christian
    Christian says:

    WOOOOOOOOOWWW, i don’t have to say much, all the comments above have pretty much said, and I don’t feel like chastizing you anymore than you already have been.

    BUT, I gotta say I don’t know how you came up with this article. You obviously have some built up aggression against a racial incident that happened against yourself, or you really don’t like transgender people.

    Either way, no one issue is more important then the other. Whether it be the economy or education, those along with prejudices and injustice all deserve equal attention.

    I hope you look back at this and realize how ridiculous this article sounds, regardless of what your initial intention was.

  60. Kristen Ridley
    Kristen Ridley says:

    Nice to see the DT is continuing its fine tradition of publishing the most ignorant and offensive opinion pieces it can find in an effort to get more readers…

  61. Annika Penelope
    Annika Penelope says:

    I know that my partner Olga has already written a very eloquent response, but I feel the need to add my voice to those expressing shame and disappointment that such an offensive and ignorant piece could ever be published in the DT. As a trans girl and proud Trojan, I am shocked that my alma mater’s newspaper would allow someone who is clearly blind to her own transphobia to write an article on such an important civil rights issue. It really reflects poorly on USC.

    “Does there have to be a specific prohibition against discriminating for ‘gender identity and expression’? Surely there are larger problems to worry about.”

    Engie, do you not see how this very argument is used to justify discrimination based on race, class, education, disability, religion, etc.? Discrimination against trans people is a huge problem in the United States. The unemployment rate among trans people is more than twice that of the general population. In a 2010 study, 41% of trans respondents reported attempting suicide at least once, compared to the national average of 1.6%. The murder rate against trans people, especially trans women, is astronomical. Every day, people are denied jobs, bullied, and attacked for simply being true to themselves. Articles like yours contribute to this oppression of your fellow citizens, including several members of the Trojan Family. The things that you say and write have consequences.

    Stop and imagine what it’s like to have identification that doesn’t match your external appearance. Before I changed the name and gender on my driver’s license in June, I was always nervous when showing my ID to bouncers and bartenders, because it outed me as a trans girl every time in a potentially hostile environment. It’s the same thing with travelling- I was at the mercy of border guards and customs agents before I received my new passport. Despite the fact that I am read as a cisgender (not trans) girl 100% of the time, my legal gender in California is still male. This means that if I were arrested (for participating in Occupy protests, for example) I would still be sent to men’s prison where I would undoubtedly become a victim of sexual violence. The laws that you so callously dismiss as “imposing” will allow me to change my legal gender and avoid such a nightmarish situation.

    “We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender…Perhaps it’s not the state’s place to tell employers, teachers and other people in society they must be blind to an individual’s personal decision.”

    Are you really arguing that the government shouldn’t work to ensure the equality of all citizens? Do you not realize that civil rights legislation has made it possible for you, a woman of color, to attend an institution like USC? Being trans is no more of a “personal decision” than the color of your skin.

    I could go on for pages about how hurtful and misguided your piece is. But I think I’ll stop here and echo what others have said: you need to do some serious thinking and soul-searching. Read up on trans issues and educate yourself. Talk to actual trans people about their experiences. I’d bet that once you get to know them, you’ll have a much harder time championing their continued oppression.

  62. Z
    Z says:

    A small hint: Your article is equally sensical and effective if you replace “transgender” with “black” (and other phrases to match).

  63. Perplexed Trojan
    Perplexed Trojan says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. The stupidity and ignorance of the opinion aside, none of these arguments are even logical. “So instead of making laws about very narrow, personal issues like whether we identify as male or female, maybe our representatives can actually fix our broken budget, or realize that there are worse forms of injustice than discrimination against whom people choose to be.” Worse forms…really… Would you rather get fired for being Muslim or being a Female? Since you choose your religion its a “lesser” discrimination isn’t it? Too dumb for words. Everyone has every right to attack this piece. When you so blatantly and insensitively criticize those who want the same freedoms as you, they have every right to defend themselves.

  64. IB
    IB says:

    It would be very beneficial for this freshman author to take a class in gender studies or social inequality before she is allowed to have published another ill-informed and uneducated article concerning these issues. To say that “we should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender” is beyond an ignorant statement. Really? Instead of protecting a minority group that continuously faces societal discrimination and often violent reactions, this author thinks we should be accommodating those who are made “uncomfortable” by being around transgenders and who are often the source of discrimination? Ridiculous.

  65. Annie
    Annie says:

    I hope the author learns from these comments, too. And the DT and the rest of USC. I really am proud to read the responses of other students here.

  66. Really DT? (2)
    Really DT? (2) says:

    Also, everybody, let’s try to slow it down on the ad hominem and focus a little more on her reasons for writing this and how exposure and understanding can change her perceptions, not simply paint her as homophobe/transphobe. I feel like doing that is counterproductive and really misses the fact that this could be a learning experience for the author. She shouldn’t be burned at the stake, she should meet a trans person (who many want to burn at the stake).

  67. Aaeriele
    Aaeriele says:

    “Tolerating intolerance is not, in fact, tolerance. It is merely the passive-aggressive enabling of intolerance.”

  68. seyyed
    seyyed says:

    wow, this is insane. there are “larger issues to worry about” than discrimination?

    As a gay Muslim American, I’m gonna say no, discrimination against ANYONE is a pretty big effing deal.

  69. Really DT?
    Really DT? says:

    DT journalism hasn’t effed up this bad in some time. granted, this is substantially worse than the last time i can remember, being a recent grad. i mean, i understand that this is an opinion piece, and that’s cool- opine all you want, but her arguments don’t sound like those of a college student, let alone a student at a top-tier university. “we have bigger things to worry about” “we should protect those who feel uncomfortable with trans people” “the state shouldn’t have the ability to meddle with personal issues” and here’s the kicker “we’re making it easier for people to change their sex than to change their names” – i’m not calling her stupid, i’m sure she isn’t. it’s just that the “USC bubble” that she so vehemently opposes isn’t necessarily the bubble i’d put her in. looks like she’s living in her own bubble, with delusions of what the world is and isn’t – principally because she’s decided not to expose herself to those “other” people that she’s currently arguing to deny rights and privileges to. honestly, i’m not surprised by her ranting, i’m surprised that the DT – what most people would assume to be a *relatively* credible college newspaper – would allow such an underdeveloped and simply sophomoric piece to be published. if anyone should be embarrassed, it’s not Engie – she just needs to be exposed to the lgbT community- it’s the careless/moronic editors who clearly didn’t have the high school-level analytic skills to evaluate this piece before sending it to print. geeze, figure it out guys.

    LOLOCOPTER says:

    Discrimination is discrimination. Full stop. And what the f___ does a broken budget have to do with discrimination? Maybe you should have held off on writing on this subject until four years after graduating and after realizing a less ignorant perspective on life. Biochem major writing on social/political matters…. SMDH. You’re a shame I hope you know. You dig yourself deeper and deeper starting with the very first sentence. I’m ashamed you are a fellow trojan, but then again USC is an institution rampant with nepotism.

  71. alum, class of '10
    alum, class of '10 says:

    I think the reasons why I am terribly offended and troubled by this article have been voiced by previous posters. I would just like to express my own outrage that it was published in the DT. I think an apology is in order, followed by a lot more research into what it means to be trans, and how cisgendered people (individual who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity) can be allies.

  72. engie salama
    engie salama says:

    Discrimination is discrimination. Full stop. And what the f*ck does a broken budget have to do with discrimination? Maybe you should have held off on writing on this subject until four years after graduating and after realizing a less ignorant perspective on life. Biochem major writing on social/political matters…. SMDH. You’re a shame I hope you know. You dig yourself deeper and deeper starting with the very first sentence. I’m ashamed you are a fellow trojan, but then again USC is an institution rampant with nepotism.

  73. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    The argument is full of empty statements like :”The problem with legally allowing people to freely and easily declare themselves as transgender is that not everybody is willing to accept the classification. It’s just reality.” Perhaps she should separate her own opinions from that of the public. I don’t see any statistics or evidence that people are truly against these bills.Even so, increasing intolerance will not help our nation fix “bigger problems.”

    It looks like someone needs a “reality” check.

    I’m disappointed to say the least.

  74. Anonymous Spider
    Anonymous Spider says:

    Surat al-Balad, 17-18: “To be one of those who believe and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion…Those are the Companions of the Right.”

    The author needs to review this passage over and over, until she realizes that compassion ought be extended to all people, not just those who do not inconvenience her preconceived notions about gender. Compassion includes sharing a common heart with others in the world, respecting their inalienable human rights, and supporting every step towards social healing for EVERYONE. Including all members of the transgender community.

    I am a student from another university seeing this, and I’m almost ashamed on other students’ behalf. I am relieved to know, however, that the author’s ignorance is being called out on your campus…

    • Annie
      Annie says:

      Can’t tell if you are trying to undermine the commenters or side with them. What’s your point? Not sure it’s hate so much as indignation and frustration at the author’s blatant hate, masquerading as journalistic inquiry… or something to that effect. People are angry.

      • Steve
        Steve says:

        There is absolutely hatred (and hypocrisy) in the comments. The argument from the people I’ve seen is that the writer should not be allowed to publish her viewpoints in a public forum because they contradict their own beliefs. Yet I’m betting that some of these same lovely people were tweeting their righteous indignation at the thought of the Occupy Wall Street brigade having to leave their areas in New York City (which was upheld by a judge today, naturally) and called it an imposition on free speech and a disgrace to that oh so patriotic of endeavors, protesting. Well this writer is exercising her right to free speech, just as all of the lovely commenters are exercising their rights to free speech by disagreeing. The difference is that the commenters don’t want this person to be allowed to speak out about their beliefs.

        People have deeply held religious beliefs that contradict what 2011 society has deemed acceptable. The arguments I’m seeing here are that those beliefs (or really, any belief that is not the exact same as theirs) are simply not acceptable in a public forum because some 19 year old college student who took a gender studies course once has determined they’re not valid, offensive, and so indefensible that they don’t deserve a place in society. I don’t really care what you, or any of the other commenters think about morality, it’s your business to live how you want to live. But you can’t protest intolerance by being intolerant of other people’s beliefs. Which is exactly what I’ve seen her.

        But I guess that’s going to continue to be part of the blatant hypocrisy of your average college student these days.

        • Former Trojan
          Former Trojan says:

          I agree with you completely Steve. Many people commenting are personally attacking her, rather than on the content of her article. People assume that with her muslim name, she must conform to a certain set of “socially accepted” belief about gender, or politics in general. While I agree her argument lack logical structure and good sources, she is nonetheless expressing her opinion, of which she has every right to do, however “wrong” or unacceptable her ideas may be.

          You can criticize her for what she is saying, but you have no right to say that the Daily Trojan shouldn’t publish it just because YOU the audience do not agree. If such steps were even taken, the it would contradict the whole idea of a free society, and conform to a society where only “acceptable” views can be expressed. Problem is, what is acceptable is very much relative.

    • Perplexed Trojan
      Perplexed Trojan says:

      What’s so hateful about the comments? No one has said anything worse than the article is stupid AND IT IS! There’s no dancing around that fact. Pointing this out, isn’t hateful, its just truth. I know how dare we get angry that someone is defending prejudice!

  75. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I am so glad that although great ignorance comes through in the article, a strong and knowledgeable response is coming through in all these comments. Bigotry will lose, tolerance will bring us together. Keep educating the intolerant, as discrimination is just ignorance looking for a scapegoat!

  76. Christopher
    Christopher says:

    This argument demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of the nature of gender identity and the issues at play with this legislation. USC is a leading research institution; students are expected to maintain a high level of integrity and analytic rigor. By that criteria, this article is an embarrassment.

    I appreciate (and celebrate) the diversity of opinions that can be nurtured in an academic environment. This piece, however, presents an argument based on myths. I would highly recommend that the author spend more time researching her chosen topics before sharing unsubstantiated, misguided points of view.

    Thankfully, the opinions expressed by the author represent those of a small, fringe minority of the Trojan community.

  77. USC MA '13
    USC MA '13 says:

    I guess we should repeal all those other laws that prevent companies from not hiring women simply because they’re women? And the ones that say we can’t beat up African Americans for being African Americans? And someone should probably also give Obama a ring and let him know DADT should be reinstated since it’s totally OK to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

    As a USC UG alum and current graduate student who is a dedicated ally and supporter of the LGBTQ community, I am deeply hurt and offended that the DT would let this transphobic piece of uninformed garbage run in its paper. Opinion section or not, articles that advocate discrimination and bigotry should never be tolerated by this newspaper. A line has been crossed, and I’m ashamed that the editors didn’t foresee the backlash that would come from this article running.

  78. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    You wear a headscarf. This is a “personal choice”. Should we be less concerned about injustices committed towards you as some may feel uncomfortable around you? Is this less of an act of blatant discrimination and intolerance too as it is a “personal decision”? I don’t think so. And I hope, for your own rights, you don’t either.

  79. Trojan 2.0
    Trojan 2.0 says:

    I’m surprised you think this (DT) is a quality publication worth discussing. 9/10 of the articles in the DT are about how awesome greek life is, in fact, there was a “women’s image” and “greek discrimination” article last year that burned my buns. But once you realize DT is inherently despicable, greek-oriented, chauvinistic group that highlights articles concerning the accomplishments of their own: this article seems to fit right in with their precedent.

  80. Nick P
    Nick P says:

    All the equality that USC students and that the city and state work towards are being shat upon by this girl’s decision to publish such a venomous opinion. It’s evidence that some people just don’t understand what’s being taught.

  81. Concerned student
    Concerned student says:

    This is an incredible embarrassment. The Daily Trojan needs to speak out on this, now, or risk the ruin of your entire publication. Retract this miserable, hurtful, and woefully ignorant article.

    Comment if you agree… this author and her supervisors at the DT need to know that hate like this has NO PLACE on our campus or in our newspapers. Pathetic.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Her argument is basically “I feel icky about transgender issues, so we as a society shouldn’t accept them.” What a bunch of weasel words about needing to “accept the unaccepting.”

      If the DT is going to run controversial pieces, they should at least make sure that the arguments are somewhat logical.

      • A.R
        A.R says:

        I agree with the the fact that this is an embarrassing article. Allowing a person to declare their gender to be something that is not listed is not going to harm anyone and, frankly, as a USC student, I am shocked that something so negative and hurtful was published in our campus newsletter.

        With this school having as much diversity and acceptance as it does, it is surprising to see the DT constantly publish articles that might seem to ask valid questions, but consistently fail to give valid reasoning. This isn’t the first time an embarrassment has popped up in our newspaper where the writer consistently fails to provide a logical argument. Another example of this is an article posted last year about how religion and scientific research often do not go hand-in-hand. Yet another one was posted about how animal research is often conducted (in research institutions such as USC) in dismal and unregulated laboratories. All of these articles just affirmed that, even though our campus is filled with many bright minds, ignorance thrives here as well. Please check your facts (and your tact) before preaching to the world as if you know what you are talking about.

        I now know what it feels like to be embarrassed of an organization at our school for allowing such ignorant articles to be published for all to see.

      • JGN
        JGN says:

        couldnt have said it better myself than the person above me. I completely support both the points of the commenter above, both for the writer AND for Daily Trojan to have some real editorial oversight.

        What a bunch of weasel words about needing to “accept the unaccepting.”

        By the logic of this article, why dont I just tell black people I dont want to work with them and get protection from that? because there is supposed to be LEGAL PROTECTION FROM PREJUDICE LIKE YOU.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      This just smacks of the same rhetoric used against gays and lesbians ten years ago. Of course there are other issues that need dealing with, that doesn’t mean this isnt one that should be dealt with. I agree that this article is disgraceful. I would love to see a response from the Daily Trojan or the university on this. This is shameful.

    • Everyone
      Everyone says:

      HAHAHA!!! you sound like Thomas Jefferson!
      Are you kidding me?
      If you want to talk about minorities
      and how they don’t deserve equality,
      let’s consider some facts about you:

      you are a woman
      you are a woman in college
      you are a muslim living in America (not an assumption, saw on different website about this joke of an article)

      don’t you act like people haven’t paved the way for you to be where you are now. don’t pretend that people never fought for your rights. If you don’t like certain people, then perhaps you shouldn’t advocate for their rights. but jesus christ, don’t you dare advocate against equality when you benefit just as must as trans folk from equal rights.

      now wipe that stupid look off your face.

  82. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    The tried and true, ‘Shouldn’t we be focusing on other things instead of protecting rights,” argument is a fallacy. Among the most important jobs of any government is the duty to protect its minorities, which means that protecting the rights of the transgendered is just as important any other government endeavor.

    What’s more, why should we be more accepting of people who are uncomfortable working with the transgendered? Why should someone else’s ignorance, bigotry or discomfort take precedence over another person’s right to express their true gender identity?

  83. MM
    MM says:

    It is difficult to adequately express how awful this article is for so many reasons. Were the DT editors really unaware of what an embarrassment it is for something like this to appear in our school’s paper?? Content like this is a fast way to lose the respect of your student body.

  84. Kim
    Kim says:

    Even if the reader accepted the completely unsubstantiated view that gender identity is a choice, that doesn’t mean those individuals don’t deserve equal protection from discrimination. For example, religion is a choice, and it’s a choice that’s protected by law. I don’t think this author would say that she would be comfortable with people treating her unequally in the workplace because she’s a Muslim woman. Should we should tolerate people who aren’t comfortable working with those who made a choice to follow a certain religion? Or does this author think that her choice of religion is different because her religion is right and transgendered people are wrong?

    It’s just amazing to me that people can have their terrible, completely messed up thoughts published. DT, I thought you were better than this.

  85. GW
    GW says:

    Author is female Muslim, you would think she’d have a little more compassion for those that wish to express themselves, whether in their sexual/gender identity or in their religion beliefs. I say this because she wears a head scarf.

    • Former Trojan
      Former Trojan says:

      Hey GW, I thought people like you reject racial/cultural stereotypes, yet you are assuming this lady should be A B & C because she is Muslim and a female? What happened to people thinking independently, irrespective of what those views are.

      • GW
        GW says:

        Yes, I am assuming that someone who wears a hijab everyday would be compassionate to someone who also wishes to express their own identity in the workplace. You don’t see the irony in someone that expresses their religious beliefs with a very distinct article of clothing who also doesn’t agree that transgender people (who express themselves with clothing, bodily features, ect) should benefit from anti-discrimination laws? I’m not assuming anything because she is female and Muslim, but I AM assuming that when a person wears a hijab, they would be grateful for the legal protections in America against discrimination in the workplace based on what they wear or how they look, and would want others to also benefit from those laws.

  86. lolwut
    lolwut says:

    “Perhaps it’s not the state’s place to tell employers, teachers and other people in society they must be blind to an individual’s personal decision.”

    Hello? Engie? The 1950s called, they asked for you back.

  87. GW
    GW says:

    Ignorant and deeply offensive article that has no place in the Daily Trojan. Yes, it’s an opinion article, but it’s not educated, based on the ludicrous mentality that people who are transgender are choosing to act a certain way and that we as a society don’t need to protect these individuals from discrimination, even though we already have gender anti-discrimination laws in place. It saddens me that USC would accept a person into the school that doesn’t have a basic understanding of state legislation and the ridiculous notion that “we should be fixing the budget, no time for the transgender folks!” Shame on the Daily Trojan.

  88. Rick Garcia
    Rick Garcia says:

    Time to play: “Find the Teachable Moment!”

    Legislation is required where the civil rights of others are trampled upon. A person’s gender and their expression thereof are core elements of identity. Allowing citizens the freedom to convey their identity freely is a fundamental democratic right. Yet, the author’s opinion that transgendered persons ought to “consider the feelings of others” is a particularly pernicious. It is damaging because it gives privilege and power to some at the expense of others.

    Think about how it would make you feel to be told to mask your racial and ethnic identity. Or, consider how it would feel to be told you cannot participate in an activity because you “look poor.”

    Insofar as we protect the rights of “the other” we secure our own rights. Everyone is beautiful and we all have value.

  89. Steve
    Steve says:

    You know who’s really being discriminated against? Old people who feel like they’re young people. This is the next discrimination that needs to be fixed, I have a grandparent who is 82 years old and feels like they’re 25. They have to do more work to get their driver’s license, can’t get hired at Abercrombie & Fitch (their favorite store), can’t fit into skinny jeans and their hair stylist won’t let them come up with an androgynous, gender challenged hairstyle to properly fit into the youth culture of today.

    And honestly, young people who feel old is another disadvantaged group. There are so many young people unable to register for AARP benefits, many of whom are currently changing the world by occupying Apple stores and the Gap before they so honorably occupy our cities. So many young people who are looked down on for wanting gray hair and to wear their pants above their stomachs. These are the people we need to be protecting.

  90. Schaeffer Nelson
    Schaeffer Nelson says:

    This is an awfully good example of how blind you can be to your own transphobia. The author clearly thinks she is in favor of equal rights and has progressive values, but this article exposes deeply prejudiced thinking. I hope she has a wake-up call, like I did a couple of years ago (and I used to think I was pretty fair-minded too). She has a platform from which she could do some real good; an apology to the trans* community would be a good start.

    • Nick P
      Nick P says:

      There’s no doubt she needs to write an apology. How could she not after reading all the responses on this website and every social network possible?

      This bleeds Alexandra Wallace all over.

  91. Opinionated
    Opinionated says:

    I’m completely for equal rights, and I understand that the transgender community is working on its way up, but I don’t think this journalist should be attacked for publishing her opinion. She has the right to do so.

    • J
      J says:

      And we, as consumers, have the right and responsibility to express our views in order to represent all sides of an issue (though let’s be real, this article is flat out ignorance at its finest).

      Oh by the way, this is coming from an actual USC journalist, thank you.

    • JE
      JE says:

      Just as we, as commenters, have the right to inform her about the complex ways in which simple words and simple ignorance can wreak terrible, terrible ills upon society.

      We’re all here in hopes of attaining the same enlightenment.

      -Here on the comments page; here at USC which is NOT a “bubble” but a place for constructive dialogue, new perspectives, and sweet, beautiful knowledge; here in the world.

      We’re not here to attack anyone personally as much as we’re here to wean our fellow Americans off their freshly-rekindled obsession with coddling and protecting ignorance like it’s some precious jewel. Any belief that has the potential to hurt others is worth at least a pause for thoughtful reconsideration. People need to recognize that.

      Both USC and the Internet are special spaces where everyone should feel that they have a voice. But that doesn’t mean ignorance and intolerance are free to run wild, unchecked.

  92. Jeremy Le
    Jeremy Le says:

    Are you serious? I am seriously offended that this piece ever was printed, because even though it’s categorized as an “opinion,” people actually end up reading this drivel.

    “Let’s not worry about real problems that people have, because OTHER people have OTHER problems we’re gonna ignore too.”

    Why don’t you stick to biochemistry, so you only f*** up in THAT respect.

  93. Jeremy Elliott
    Jeremy Elliott says:

    “We should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t as comfortable with working with people who identify as transgender.”

    Wait, really? Can you explain to me how this is a solution to anything?! If I may break this statement down a little further, you’re saying we should instead be more accepting of the people who aren’t accepting of other people who are different.

    Nothing holds up in this article. You can say “aren’t there bigger issues to worry about?” in response to just about anything. Yes, this country is just one big daunting pile of issues that need to be worked through. Why shoot down the people trying to take the first step?

    Things like sexual orientation and identity can indeed seem petty in the face of major economic breakdowns, war, etc. But the fact that so many people are actually getting bogged down by these issues and choosing to vehemently exclude individuals who appear different from “mainstream” society means we have a fundamental flaw in the fabric of our country–a kink that needs to be worked out. We can’t expect to make progress if we can’t even cohere in harmony. You, for example, are consciously choosing to make a mountain out of a molehill; if a biological male were to decide to wear a dress to work, you’d probably declare that people just aren’t ready for this and they shouldn’t have to accept it and your petty qualms about physical appearance would bar inclusion and make a non-issue into an issue.

    Yes, you might find it natural to argue that cross-dressing and undergoing sexual reassignment is a “choice,” but if you knew the first thing about trans identity, the consequences of NOT being able to express the gender one feels aligned with from birth (and this feeling is most certainly NOT a choice) are quite dire, and suicide rates amongst trans-identified individuals are absolutely ASTRONOMICAL. Look up the stats. They’re a very small minority, but they’re possibly the most at-risk minority existing in the U.S.
    And if you knew the second thing about trans identity, these people become quite devastatingly “aware of the effects of these decisions.” Transitions are an emotional rollercoaster, not some fancy-free lark performed on a whim. And they’ll continue to be horridly turbulent as long as people such as yourself keep suggesting that society just isn’t ready for this kind of thing.

    Really, the ball is in YOUR COURT when it comes to issues of inclusion (and do not underestimate how important these issues are). Arguments like “The problem with legally allowing people to freely and easily declare themselves as transgender is that not everybody is willing to accept the classification. It’s just reality” add NOTHING to the dialogue that’s going to help this country progress, and they suggest with a toxic stench of ignorance that people being perpetually mired in their unfounded, unnecessary, and hurtful biases is perfectly natural and a fact of life. No matter what you personally believe, you cannot deny the existence of people who, for god’s sake, really do exist. The whole ignoring-them-until-they-die-off-/-commit-suicide thing really doesn’t work either, because honey, they regenerate.

  94. Olga Tomchin
    Olga Tomchin says:

    I am a Trojan alum (Class of 2010). My partner Annika, who is also a Trojan alum (Class of 2009), who is transgender and blogs about trans issues, is writing a formal response. I currently work as a Legal Intern at the Transgender Law Center, though this comment is being written to represent only my views.

    It is very saddening to me to see TLC’s work being used to perversely justify discrimination. Trans people experience such high rates of socioeconomic marginalization precisely because of pervasive, frequently legally sanctioned discrimination in educational and work settings. Every day, trans people are fired from jobs for simply not living a lie or harassed into dropping out of school which creates a cycle of poverty. People of color experience even further marginalization due to the combination of racism and transphobia. Trans people, especially trans women, also experience one of the highest rates of murder in the world. Every single day trans people are murdered just for being trans. These bills send a message that hate and violence against trans people are not acceptable and rejected by the state of California. The author thinks that the college campus is a bubble, but she doesn’t understand the bubble she lives and the privilege that she has that allows her to be so dismissive of the lives of trans people, especially the majority who do not live in LA or SF.

    The author of this piece suggests that we should instead have sympathy for people who “aren’t as comfortable” treating trans people like any other human being. It is disappointing that she can’t see how this argument has been made over and over again against people due to their race, gender, political beliefs, and religion. Throughout Europe (and sometimes in the US), similar arguments are made to prevent Muslim women from being able to wear hijabs or niqabs in schools/workplaces/government buildings/public streets. And for the same reason, these arguments are wrong. Bigots of any sort should not be coddled and protected in their ignorance and hatred. (The funny thing is that two years ago I wrote angry comments on a similar DT piece that advocated for a ban on niqabs.)

    It’s really a shame that this article was published the week before the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I hope that the author and others who feel similarly that trans people and their lives are unimportant and not worth protecting do some reflecting, reading (starting here:, and maybe speak to an actual trans person (including many members of the Trojan family) to learn about their lives and how we all have shared humanity.

  95. Amy Karn, BArch 07
    Amy Karn, BArch 07 says:

    As a USC graduate, and transgendered woman, I am highly offended by this blurb, the only saving grace it being an opinion column.

    Just so the author knows: every single person who decides to come out as transgender does not do so to declare themselves as such. We do so in order to live happier, more fulfilling lives. It is a distinctly different issue than coming out as gay or lesbian, in that “transgender” is not an identity that most of us hope to hold openly for the remainder of our lives.

    While I agree that our legislators should be focusing on the budget crisis, a vast majority of laws are passed in order to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Having mismatched documentation is a very real problem for many trans people early in their transitions, and making it easier to sync up these documents should not be seen as forcing the rest of the world to “accept us”. Currently, for example, I have a drivers license that says Female, but a social security card that says Male. While I’m sure you’re unaware of the difficulty this may cause in health insurance coverage, be sure that it is very real and very complicated.

    I fail to see what might be seen as “not positive” about this legislation, as it effects 95% of the population is no way. Please check your facts on the passport rules: the fact that you can now change your gender is to make it easier to travel (so I’m not beat up somewhere due to mismatched ID even though I am otherwise not visibly transgender), and is not a permanent change. Also, this is a FEDERAL change, handled by agency memos as opposed to legislators running amok.

    Feel free to discriminate or dislike transgendered people all you like. I’m sure they’ll do the same in return. But LEGAL discrimination (without these laws) is shameful no matter what you think of those concerned.

  96. A-E
    A-E says:

    Completely agree with you J!
    Identification of sexual identity is not simply “a narrow personal issue”. Changing one’s gender is as personal a decision as, for example, marrying someone outside your race, which was deemed illegal very recently and I am sure many people objected that there were “more important issues” in the country to worry about than interracial marriages.
    The fact that any labeled “Non-descriminations” legislature are being passed in our government today provides immense reason to celebrate!
    And because these bills were passed in California does not mean our broken budget problem has all of the sudden gotten worse because of any the attention pulled away from it.

  97. Quyennnl
    Quyennnl says:

    Please don’t use the “we have bigger problems to worry about” to belittle transgender issues and dismiss cissexism. We don’t need to pit people against each other by claiming what’s is more important than what. Just because a lot of other injustices exist in no way means that transgender issues make them any less important.

    Everyone’s rights are important and worth the time.

    Do you think that the other anti-discrimination clauses about race, sex, religion, national origin, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc. should be removed as well? Should people who choose to follow a particular faith, for example, be forced to endure discrimination in school and the workplace because “there are some arenas the government has no place in”?

  98. J
    J says:

    I really hope this entire article is a joke. For transgendered people, it is not simply a choice as you so easily state here in your article. Yes, there needs to be legislation to support them, because they are one of the most overlooked minorities in our country. Also, your argument saying, “not everybody is willing to accept the classification,” means they should be allowed to discriminate based on their own views? What if there weren’t laws to protect you from being a woman? What if you didn’t have the right to vote? What if you couldn’t get a job for the way you dress (Your facebook is not private)? During a time period in this country, you wouldn’t have any laws to protect you, so I suggest you take a really good look at what you’re saying in this article and realize that you are completely misguided and apologize to everyone you have hurt with your ignorant analysis.

    And another thing, look at legislation passed by an elected person of Congress recently. Chances are, most things passed are silly little days of appreciation (menial stuff). How about you criticize those acts instead of the ones actually helping peoples’ lives.

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