Friday 13th December 2019

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Awash In Gender Confusion

September 2, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


My wife came home a few weeks ago — actually she comes home every night, but you understand the figure of speech — with an interesting tidbit from work. She works for a large, nationwide financial organization. The company, she said, is now allowing employees to include their preferred pronouns on their business cards and email signatures.
Then the other day I was leading our parish men’s faith-sharing group and one of the guys mentioned that his company did the same thing. This is apparently a political correctness trend that hadn’t caught my eye, so I looked into it and it appears that it is a growing trend in the business world.
And it is not just a trend toward employee self-identification, but customer identification as well. For example, the financial services firm TIAA has issued guidelines for employees who meet customers that include the following: “Create the space for gender inclusion by asking for a client’s preferred name and pronouns and/or sharing yours.” Then it suggests this example: “Hello, my name is Jane and my pronouns are she/her. It’s very nice to meet you.”
It also warns, “Never assume someone’s gender identity…be aware that a person’s pronouns can change over time. They may also change based on context,” whatever that means.
So I’m wondering now if I’m going to be met the same way by my banker, insurance broker, or barber. And will I be expected to reply with a list of my approved pronouns? Isn’t that a bit intrusive? “Hello. My name is Mike. My preferred pronouns are those associated with a grown man named Mike. I don’t expect them to change. Ever. Capisce?
On the down side, I think that might be seen as a little rude to any pansy who might ask me that. On the up side, there’ll be no confusion about my answer; a little intimidating, perhaps, but clear.
But now I wonder if I give that answer, will my banker close my account, or will I lose my insurance? Of course, if I can’t get my haircut, I could grow that man-bun I’ve heard so much about.
Anyway, this whole matter of gender-identifying pronouns is ripe for abuse, and now that school has started the problem could be coming to a school near you. In Ohio a sixth-grade boy, John, was taken out of class because he referred to a gender-confused classmate as a boy.
It seems that last May students were having a discussion about a classmate, identified as Boy A, who had recently started to publicly identify as a girl. Apparently some of the girls were of the opinion that if the student was taking female hormones and would have his “private parts removed” he would turn into a girl. Not so, said some of the boys, opining that sex is what you are born with.
A teacher overheard the discussion and turned the boys into the office. John was taken out of class and told, in front of his friends, by the assistant principal that there “might be consequences” and he could be punished if he continued to use a male pronoun for the classmate.
Other boys (the real kind) who were involved in the overheard discussion received in-school suspensions. Liberty Counsel has taken John’s case and, noting that since the school had subjected John to classroom discussions led by the teacher which affirmed Boy A’s gender identity, it could not legally “silence students who respectfully disagree” with classmates that “castration is a good thing” for their classmate.
After receiving legal push back from Liberty Counsel, the school district backed off and cleared John’s record. It responded by saying that the class removal was not “formal disciplinary action”; that John’s record “does not contain any record of disciplinary action.” And claimed that district “does not discipline students for expressing respectful disagreement on any topic; and it does not discipline students for using certain pronouns in referring to students or coerce any student to use a particular pronoun.”
For folks bent on the demands of political correctness, perhaps the board should have an educational intervention with its teachers.
But, of course, in the hallowed halls of academia, common sense and legal niceties don’t really matter. Take the case of American University in Washington, D.C. The university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion says it plans to mandate the use of students’ preferred pronouns.
If that policy is adopted, what happens to teachers or students who violate the mandate? While students can lose scholarships and be expelled, professors and teachers can lose their jobs.
Case in point: In Jacksonville, Fla., a teacher who is refusing to use a requested gender pronoun for a student is under investigation by Sandalwood High School for that refusal. Apparently the teacher, Thomas Caggiano, told the student, a biological male, “I will not refer to you with female pronouns. If this is not acceptable for you, change classes….I will call you by any reasonable name you like, but the pronouns are not a negotiable thing for me.”
The school’s policy, however, specifically addresses the use of pronouns when addressing transgender students. They should be addressed by the name and gender with which they feel comfortable, it says.
We don’t know yet what will happen to Mr. Caggiano, but he has been “counseled” in the matter. Whether he loses his job or is subject to other discipline is still not known.
But what we do know is the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at American University has adopted a multi-page set of guidelines for use on campus, which includes suggested terms for “nonbinary pronouns used by trans, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people.” The guide further states, “Even when offenders are not aware of bias or do not intend to offend others, bias may be revealed which is worthy of a response and an opportunity for education.” Or “re-education,” as the old Soviet camps were labeled.
I wonder what the university’s biology department might say about that; that is, if anyone there still believes that sex is binary. Academia apparently has no place for that in its midst. A professor from the University of Louisville found that out the hard way when he was demoted and finally fired over his comments at a public forum.
Professor Allan Josephson was chief of the university’s child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology division. Alarmed at the rapid growth of transgenderism and the negative effects of giving children hormone treatment, he took part in a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation. While the university claims that it “celebrates diversity of thought,” it apparently didn’t in Dr. Josephson’s case. He was demoted and finally fired for stating his concerns. A lawsuit has been filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom. We’ll see where that goes.
This battle over gender and gender identity is causing havoc in a society that is becoming unwilling to provide appropriate help to those who have serious mental and psychological issues regarding their sexual identity. The politically correct answer is to humor them, cave to their demands, and write new rules and laws permitting them to play out their dysphoria approvingly on a public stage. Unfortunately that only compounds the problem and ultimately hurts those who need our help.
You can reach Mike (he/him) at:

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