Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A University Recognizes a Third Gender: Neutral

This recent article from the New York Times describes efforts by universities to recognize gender-neutral identities.

1 comment:

  1. My very well-meaning fifty-eight-year-old Bay Area father has recently been trying to educate himself about "queer things" in keeping with "changing times." He "got" sexuality, sexual fluidity, gay marriage, etc. pretty quickly, but has been having trouble wrapping his mind around trans* issues. It wasn't that he was being intolerant or didn't want to understand; he just didn't "get" it. My GWS major little sister and I had been trying to explain things to him for months in fancy queer theory terms to no avail. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, he read this article, emailed it to me and my sister, and proudly proclaimed that he understood gender(!!!) Given our subsequent conversations, I am proud to say that I actually believe him!

    Seeing this article again, I am wondering what about it finally helped trans* issues to "click" for him where the educating my sister and I had been doing failed. This article does a good job explaining the concept of trans* identity, genderqueerness, and a "third gender" using a combination of interviews based on lived experiences and clearly identifiable changes in university and legal policy. While the deconstructive political work of queer theory clearly underlie it, its focus on the concrete experiences and policies make it accessible to laypeople without a background in theory who may have the desire to learn about trans* issues. Given my father's experience, I think this is a good example of one of the "right" ways to go about educating older generations about these issues.