Campus and Gender Binaries
This past year, as a CU student, I have been witness to many changes on campus; all of which are good, progressive changes. Polly McLean, a professor in the Advertising school at CU created and teaches a class called Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality in Popular Culture. This class allows students to explore the modern world of popular culture through media. By doing so, students learn about the gender binaries that have forever dominated the way in which females and males are classified and identified. However, this past year has brought about massive changes in relation to binaries. In the news recently there has been much debate, discussion and arguments over transgendered and transexual people (Caitlin Jenner). CU seemed to be ahead of this curve. In the media acceptance has been a progressive movement for some time, but now especially seems to be the time for change – changes in the way we identify with our own individual sexuality, the sexuality of others, and the various binaries that categorize all of us.
The binary walls are breaking down. On the CU campus there are many classes that address these topics. Aside from this though, I have recognized subtle changes within the school system itself. “Female” and “Male” are no longer the only check boxes offered, and “she” and “he” are not required to match up with the boxes that we check.
i-D Vice’s article, Why Do We Even Need Gender Specific Titles Anymore, poses the question:
“Until recently, unless you happened to be a doctor, professor or military professional, when literally and figuratively ticking the boxes of the many forms we are required to complete throughout our lives as registered members of society, you would have been forced to state your gender. To those whose identity does not fit the gender binary, this understandably often feels discriminatory. However, having already made it into the vocabularies of many banks, post offices and universities, it has been announced that Mx (pronounced mux or mix – the most commonly recognized gender-neutral title) will be added to the Oxford English Dictionary. While this marks a much-needed change and absolute step in the right direction, why don’t we drop such honorifics entirely and pave the way for future generations?”
For years on end these binaries have created torment, frustration and self-hate for the people who are unable to fit in the predetermined boxes that our culture has, until recently, maintained as being law. For some, the idea of the elimination of titles and thus of the binaries that separate us from one another – and for some, from ourselves – is a change that is not meant to be seen. i-D argues this statement by explaining, “While this is one small step for most, it is one giant leap towards human equality.”
Mykki Blanco, a rap artist and poet who recently visited CU’s campus, identifies not only as a male but as a female too. He is a star crusader for this movement and a wildly successful artist.
The New York Times article, Let Transgendered Troops Serve Openly, stated: “Early this year, Senior Airman Logan Ireland feared he might face a similar fate when he disclosed to his commanders during a recent deployment in Afghanistan that he transitioned from female to male. Yet, his supervisors have been supportive, allowing him to wear male uniforms and adhere to male grooming standards even though Air Force records continue to label him as female.” again – While this is one small step for most, it is one giant leap towards human equality.