It Is 2016, Are You Assuming My Gender?


Amaya White, Guest Columnist

The year 2016 will go down in history as the year that changed the world. The newest iPhone has no jack while the Samsung phones are exploding. Beloved singers are getting killed and multiple acts of terrorism has been inflicted because of hatred towards many communities around the world.  The one thing that stood out to me was gender assumption.

In the previous year, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, had come out as transgender and took the world by storm. Since then, many people have come out of “the closet” as transgender. Some only to close and family while others came out to the world.

Earlier this year, President Obama created a law that allows transgenders to use the bathroom of their identity not by the sex on their birth certificate. This has affected the transgender community in many ways. They have been targeted by many transphobic people who either assault them or discriminate against them. In the summer of 2016, a restaurant employee followed a trans-woman around and told her that she was not allowed to use the women’s restroom. When talking to the owner, they were kicked out. Upon returning later, there was a sign outside the handicapped bathroom. It said, “Bathroom is for handicapped, transgender, and non-conforming people only.”

Many people have been attacked because of their gender identity while others have been calling people out for assuming their gender identities. That has happened to me before. Due to the way I occasionally dress, a large amount of people mistake me as being a boy when I am a cisgender female. I understand why others get angry or uncomfortable when they are called out of their preferred pronoun. It makes them feel less than they are because they don’t feel accepted into the group; they feel like outsiders. Not too long ago I have acquired to transgender friends who prefer the pronouns he/him. Time and time again I have to correct many people who refuse to call them by their preferred pronouns. The excuses used are:
“They look a girl so I’m going to call them a girl” or “I’m still going to call her a she because that’s what I want to do.” Those are not valid excuses for calling someone outside of their pronouns. It is not physically hurting anyone for saying that, but it is mentally and emotionally hurting them.

Gender assumption is a bigger problem than people think. It is not just using the wrong pronouns, it also pertains to the right that transgenders have. They may not have much rights, but we should start with getting the pronouns rights.