I am going to bust The Shield’s chops for a second, because I need to address a mistake that was made in a previous issue. An individual we interviewed was misgendered, and I would like to explain why we need to change our understanding of gender as a whole.
Attending university and being around such a diverse student body has gone a long way toward changing my black-and-white perspective toward gender. I have even started to use gender neutral pronouns in casual conversation.
Suppose I am speaking to someone who identifies as transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary. They would prefer being referred one way over another. For me, referring to that person by their name or as “they” or “them” would be ideal.
This is of particular importance to me because of the ongoing discussion of gender neutrality in public facilities. The Shield ran an article wherein they interviewed a student on the issue. Said student identifies as non-binary, and they were misgendered as male.
This error has since been rectified, but it’s important to consider how serious that could be if it had been left as-is.
In this particular situation, it was just a little embarrassing for us and the interviewee, but if those edits were ignored, then that person and everyone who shares their identity would effectively be misrepresented to the point of erasure.
As an active member of society, I think I have a responsibility to discard my “call ‘em as I see ‘em” mentality, learn how people want to be viewed, and give them no less than that. Likewise, I think the media-even us at The Shield-have an even greater responsibility to do so.
It is through us that the student body has a voice, and we owe it to them to represent them correctly and fairly.