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Letters to the Editor

Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 01:09

In response to the Sept. 1 article "No discrimination protection for gender identity at USF"

I am a biological female, and I happen to feel that my body matches the rest of me. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I understand that.

I also understand that when I walk into the school I attend, my place of work or any public institution that I am free to be in those places and use those places to fulfill my needs. I did not understand that, living in the age we do, those who have alternative gender expressions are not given the same.

Perhaps the lack of "hue and cry" that Assistant Vice President of the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office Ted Williams describes is due to the fact that people are and were not informed about the University's official position on the matter of discrimination based on gender expression. ‘We don't have to' and ‘the city is not my boss' are hardly compelling arguments for refusing to protect the members of our University community who are currently unprotected.

This is a civil rights issue. A person is a person, and putting a member of our University's staff through what sounds like a lengthy and now public ordeal is unconscionable, considering that she just needs access to a restroom that she feels physically safe using. By maintaining that heterosexuals and individuals who adhere to a given gender will have problems is propagating the idea that those individuals will have cause to fear transgendered individuals while in the bathroom.

USF's recent history shows two student-led developments that are geared toward respecting and accepting transgendered students at USF: USF's Transgender Student Union and the creation of gender-neutral dorms with the option of selecting a third gender on housing applications. I would like to tell Mr. Williams that just because he was not paying attention does not mean that a message of acceptance for individuals who are off the gender binary has not been sent before now. Fix this now. It's pointless, cruel and not something that I expected from this University that I love. Fix it.

Laurel Alfson is a senior majoring in secondary education.

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In response to the article "No discrimination protection for gender identity at USF," I would like to ask a quick question and make a quick note as well. First, what sex is Rebecca Cardwell? Whichever is the answer should be the answer to which restroom he/she uses. Using the term "transitioning" in reference to changing sexes is very vague and keeps readers from knowing where the individual is sexually at the time.

Now, if Rebecca is a male but feels uncomfortable using a male bathroom, there are several places on campus where he can use restrooms, which are open to both men and women. There is at least one of these restrooms in the main campus library, which is nearly half the distance to the Marshall Student Center. If Rebecca is a female, then she shouldn't have any problem using a female restroom, as there aren't any actual laws prohibiting her from doing so. While further legislation that protects transgendered students should be considered, Rebecca can continue as a student normally would without any. There are multiple gender-neutral bathrooms across campus, and Rebecca at least has the opportunity to use those.

Bob Geier is a senior majoring in political science.

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1 comments

The Cardwell's
Mon Sep 19 2011 07:05
In response to the article dated Sept 1, 2011 "No discrimination protection for gender identity at USF" Ted Williams said, ���Discrimination in any form is unacceptable," he said, ���The issue, however, is something he said is "a double-edged sword." "Let's say an individual is transitioning," he said. "He or she has their right. Now, there are individuals who may be heterosexual and one of a given gender. We must understand they have their rights too. We don't want to tread on the rights of one group to facilitate or bring to fruition the rights of the others."
We say that discrimination in any form is truly unacceptable, and not just for one group of people.
I believe Ted Williams realizes that Rebecca is, in fact, being discriminated against. He should feel compelled to do what is just and right in spite of the pressure from within. It is not a double edge sword, it���s wrong. Racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle. Which is right or wrong?
A commenter who posted an angry comment here said, ���So wake up and shut up about your personal sexual practice because normal people have more pressing issues like two lying wars, troops dying, poverty in ALL communities, the increasing divide between the rich and poor who are mistakenly grouped together as lazy.��� This same commenter describes himself/herself as from a group known as ���normal people���. That could have been said for segregation: ���colored people��� use this bathroom and ���normal people��� use ���normal people��� bathroom. You should realize that it appears to me that you are discriminating in the usual hateful fashion. As I read your post I can actually feel the hate from your words. You are familiar with that hateful feeling toward you, and yet somehow it is just for you to do the same. Each of us came from the same mold: Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, In the image of God he created them; Male and female he created them. Is there anyone familiar with Eunuchs in the Bible (Matthew 19:12)?
We are proud of our good natured and gentle daughter, Rebecca, and will stand by her.
Casey and Ellie Cardwell




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