Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Students Know Best!

Sometimes the adults get in the way of doing the right thing.
By Joanna L. Grossman and Grant M. Hayden
May 29, 2016

A recent editorial in the Tallahassee Democrat reported on, and praised, the students at Leon High School, who elected two women to serve as prom king and queen.

The two women had dated for three years and were viewed by their peers as perhaps the most popular couple. The surprising part of this story was that after the story reached over 200,000 people on Facebook, many of the comments were supportive and celebratory, or expressed the simple idea that this was no big deal.

But this story is the exception, as we see uproar across the country regarding people, rules and events that challenge conventional gender norms.

When students at a California high school tried to elect a lesbian couple as prom king and queen, school officials issued a royal edict that for all-important prom purposes, qualification for “king” or “queen” is defined by sex at birth.

Meanwhile, across the country in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a girl who showed up in a tuxedo was turned away at the prom door for violating the established dress code that says “girls must wear formal dresses.”

And in East Haddam, Connecticut, boys and girls walk in different lines at commencement, with boys dressed in blue and girls in virginal white carrying flowers (discussed in detail here).
It is the students who know best all most all the students are open to LGBT students, it is the adults that teach them otherwise.

We have come a long way but we still have a very long way to go. I don’t think it will ever end in my lifetime and maybe in the lifetime in my grand nieces and nephews… just maybe.

The article goes on to talk about why this backlash is happening now.
There must, then, be some reason underlying all these scandals and stories. The real reason, we suggest, is that transgender people present a direct challenge to the existence of a simple division between the sexes. People who were born with one set of sexual organs but identify and present as members of the opposite sex blur the lines between sexes and make clear there that the relationship between sex and gender is complicated.

It’s hard to maintain sexual inequality when you can’t tell, exactly, what makes someone a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. And when people are not transgender but simply refuse to be segregated by sex or to conform to conventional sex norms, society has the same reaction: “Make sure we can tell the difference between girls and boys.”
This isn’t to say that people who are gay, transgender or graduating from high school aren’t being independently targeted for discrimination. They are, and their suffering is real. But they are also pawns in a larger game of gender oppression, one that depends on having clearly drawn battle lines.
I think that for men being unable to tell a man from a woman strikes fear in them that it opens them up to the charge of being “GAY.” A man thinks nothing about hitting on a woman anytime, anyplace, he is the hunter and a hunter must know its prey or the prey might turn on him.

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