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Madeleine Ward

QEN 102

Professor Williams

11 February 2017

Justice for all Genders

When most people hear the words “gender inequality,” they usually think of the

mistreatment of and discrimination against women. They wouldn’t be wrong - women are

discriminated against every day in America, and gender stereotypes are strictly reinforced in our

culture. Sadly though, gender stereotypes are so rigid that many people fail to recognize other

genders beyond male and female. Genders like nonbinary, transgender, and agender are barely

known about, let alone acknowledged in today’s society. As a woman, I understand what it’s like

to be discriminated against based on gender, but at least my gender is acknowledged as real.

Many people fail to recognize or understand the other genders, whether because of religion,

tradition, or a lack of education or respect.

No matter the reason, nobody should be discriminated against because of their gender. It

seems that when someone identifies as a gender other than male or female, others tie it to their

identity - in reality, gender is only one part of a person’s identity. It does not define who they are,

what they like, what their career is, etc. and it certainly doesn’t define how they should be

treated. Growing up in a Catholic home, I was surrounded by those who probably didn’t know

the difference between gender(how one identifies themselves) and sex(the physical parts they

were born with. If you had female parts you were a girl, and if you had male parts you were a

boy. If you were a girl, you played with dolls, and if you were a boy, you played with trains.
Neither them nor I understood that gender was more complicated than sex, or that they weren’t

always dependent on each other. Being raised in tradition and then meeting people who break

that tradition can be jarring, and and often generates judgment. I’ve always thought this is quite

backwards; being a Christian means loving and accepting others regardless of who they are, yet a

lack of understanding bars that ability too quickly.

My hope is that better education and understanding of all genders can remedy the

blindness of those with prejudice. Many people refuse to even acknowledge the existence of

other genders. This seems ridiculous when you consider if the situation was different - if men

refused to acknowledge females as a gender, it wouldn’t invalidate the female gender and its

existence. People seem to be skeptical of those with a non-conventional gender, as if they were

faking it. And many people mean well, but end up saying bigoted things through their own

ignorance. There is a lack of education as to what non-binary(not identifying as male or female)

even means, or what the difference is between transgender and transexual, and so on. My aim is

to raise questions that people may be afraid to ask, and to raise awareness for those who might

not know they need to be asking more questions. My aim is acceptance.

In my mind, I see a path towards a better place for people who are oppressed. In reality, I

know there’s no golden, shining utopia at the end of that path. But I do see a gradual change in a

positive direction, a change of hearts and of minds. My vision is a world where the governmental

system doesn’t favor some and hinder others. I see a world where nobody has to worry about

which bathroom to use, because they’re all genderless. I see a world where there’s no “Men’s”

section and “Women’s” section in stores, and no men in corporate suits deciding which clothes

are acceptable for your gender to wear. What a world it would be - for boys to take dance classes

without facing the imminent gay jokes, for transgenders to walk the streets without weird stares
or people asking, “what are you?”. But most importantly, I see a new age where people can adapt

to change, and open their minds to identities they may not understand.

Today, we expect everyone to fit into a box - but life would be so boring if we were all

squares. Some people who harbor judgment might mean well, but remain uneducated, and

therefore unable to fully show others the respect they deserve. Hopefully further down the road it

will be different. Because in my mind I see a world where people not only accept each other, but

also strive to understand each other.