Letter to the editor
Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm in Opinion
Opinion misguided and lacked research
I found âIdentification unnecessary in political realm, Nov. 15â extremely offensive. It smacks of intolerance, ignorance and even outright hostility to the transgender community. Its misleading title provides a taste of the issues within.
The author (along with much of the general populace) lacks a clear understanding of transgender issues. First off, transgender people do not âredefine their gender,â as the article offensively argues.
Gender is by definition a social construct and is not related to the biological concept of sex. Many transgender people identify with a certain gender from a young age, making any âredefinitionâ impossible. This anomaly is only the beginning.
The author willingly ignores reality in her quest to focus on âlarger problems.â If she considered that 27 people were murdered in 2010 on the basis of their perceived or actual LGBT identity, perhaps she would see differently. Instead, she argues for more tolerance of intolerance â that is, respect for anti-transgender sentiment and hate speech. She accepts bigotry as the standard, saying intolerance is âjust reality.â
It would be easier to refute the authorâs perspective if she had formed a coherent opinion. She first claims to support universal rights and a world without discrimination. Yet she goes on to castigate an entire demographic for their supposed âpersonal choices.â
She seems to suggest that transgender people make decisions on a whim, fulfilling the stereotype of fickle and superficial gay people broadcast in popular media. Her tone ultimately proves condescending. To tell transgender people they âneed to be aware of the effects of such decisionsâ is not a revelation to any member of that demographic. Clearly, one does not define oneâs gender easily or hastily.
Social issues aside, the author commits grave errors in her exploration of the political and legal aspects of the issue. The passing reference to two important California laws indicates she did not actually study them in any detail. As a result, the author frames the issue in a misleading way.
She creates a false dilemma between support for minority rights and support for transgender rights, refusing to recognize the interdependent relationship between the two.
One cannot support racial tolerance while castigating people for their gender identity. Her approach is ultimately offensive because of its hypocrisy.
Salama is fully entitled to her opinion, and can be forgiven for factual mistakes. After all, most of us know very little about transgender issues and continue to learn about them with good intentions.
The Daily Trojan, however is not a forum for people to write cluelessly about sensitive topics. Salama is not qualified to speak on transgender issues.
Our student newspaper should represent fairly the views of students, and commit itself to factual integrity. Articles such as these paint a very poor picture of our campus community and the character of our students.
I hope that, in the future, the Daily Trojan will publish more open-minded and tactful opinion pieces.
Sophomore, East Asian area studies