Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
This story was too interesting to only share it with my Anti-NJEA Blog readers - I had to re-post it here.
Incidentally, if you are interested in education/union issues in NJ, check out my anti-NJEA blog at http://www.njea-info.org.
If you think that words just describe the world, you would be quite mistaken. And when you realize that words literally define, shape and frame the world, you will start to get an idea of how powerful they really are.
Unfortunately, as George Lakoff (University of California, Berkley) points out:
"Most people don't understand this. Most people think that words just refer to things in the world and that they're neutral. And that's just not true." Quote taken from Ari Shapiro’s article Loaded Words: How Language Shapes the Gun Debate, February 26, 2013
So when the Bergen County Education Association (BCEA) used the term “cisgender” to describe people who are not “transgender” in an article on the NJEA web site on October 23 (BCEA raises conversation on transgender student safety), they did so purposefully. They have chosen to define the terms of the debate in their own way for a reason.
Here is what Sue McBride said at the September 26, 2017 luncheon hosted by BCEA (yes Bergen County teachers, your dues money paid for this – although costs were partially covered by NJEA through a PRIDE Education grant)
“We knew how upsetting these stories had to be to our transgender students, and we worried about the impact such stories could have on how cisgender students learn misinformation about gender identity.”
Fortunately, the NJEA article provided a definition for cisgender because I had never heard of it before.
“Cisgender is a term to describe people who are not transgender. ‘Cis’ is a Latin prefix meaning ‘on the same side as,’ and is an antonym for ‘trans.’“
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Take the abortion debate.
Are you pro-choice when you support abortion rights and then anti-choice when you oppose them?
Or should we frame it differently and ask if you are anti-life when you support abortion rights and then pro-life when you are against them?
How about the gun debate?
Are you anti-gun violence when you support gun restrictions and then pro-gun violence when you don’t want any restrictions on guns?
Or maybe you are pro-choice when it comes to believing that citizens have a right to choose to carry a concealed weapon and then anti-choice if you believe the opposite.
I think you will agree – words do matter.
I REJECT THE TERM CISGENDER
I don’t like being referred to as a cisgender – it is offensive. I prefer being called an individual who accepts his biological gender.
If people who don’t accept their biological gender like the term transgender, good for them. They can refer to themselves as transgender.
By the way, I am not being judgmental when I use the phrase “accept their biological gender.” I am just keeping the terminology as factual as possible. If you are born with an XY chromosome you are male and if you have XX you are female. That is your biological gender.
So, if the NJEA article is correct that 95-97% of people in the world accept their biological gender, why is the conversation being framed as transgender vs. cisgender?
In other words, why is the NJEA using terms based on the terminology of the minority population?
Of course, we all know that answer to that question.
They don’t want to offend transgender people and make them feel excluded, different or marginalized.
Now, I completely accept that there is a small minority of individuals who don’t accept their biological gender. And I am not suggesting that they be demonized or treaty poorly in any sense at all. All human beings should be respected as the individuals that they are.
Just stop forcing your terminology down the throats of biologically gender accepting Americans.