Last week, I wrote about the U.S. president’s proclamation that transgender individuals would regardless of their qualifications or competency be disqualified for service with the American military.
Noteworthy is the fact almost every developed nation on the planet ó including Canada, the U.K., Australia, Germany and Israel to name a few ó accommodates such individuals, provided of course they pass qualification tests like every other potential recruit.
But in the ensuing public debate that has since exploded, many people who actually support No. 45’s decision seem convinced beyond reason that everyone else should conform to their narrow-minded worldview that human DNA hardwires us from birth as either male or female, and that anyone who thinks otherwise suffers from a mental disorder.
This, of course, is a biased opinion founded on the perception of moral superiority combined with a complete vacuum of factual evidence or knowledge.
While uncommon, gender uncertainty following the birth of an infant is not unheard of ó some doctors have and still do arbitrarily decide a child’s sex when a baby is born with parts of both male and female genitalia.
“I’d assumed that XX is a girl and XY is a boy. People don’t know there are variations, so when they occur it’s freakish,” said Juliet Swire, a mother of a child born in 2013 with characteristics of both sexes, in a 2016 Guardian article.
Despite the fact her baby was delivered otherwise totally healthy, doctors from the start set a sad stage for a future of stigmatic stereotypes and prejudiced preconceptions by urging the parents not to inform any of their friends or family about the newborn until a gender was determined, or rather, assigned.
“One of the beautiful parts of having a baby is being able to share the joy that this tiny, newborn person has entered the world,” Swire said. “We could have announced that our baby had been born with complications that mean we don’t know if he’s a boy or a girl. But the doctors took that away from us without any explanation. It set the precedent for how other people were going to perceive it.”
Nature, which is often described by some people as “perfect,” does occasionally take unexpected turns ó as we see with, for example, conjoined twins, Down syndrome, and of course mixed gender characteristics. We are not talking about birth defects caused by human error, such as the infamous case of thalidomide or even conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome. So then how can the result of a natural process be considered by some to be abhorrently abnormal?
The simple fact remains that in the end, a person’s gender and orientation do not remotely impede that individual’s potential ability to not only function as a member of society but to contribute as well. The problem lies not with that individual, but with those who are self-righteously inclined to find in others faults that do not even exist.
From Leonardo Da Vinci, the renowned visionary inventor who was arguably centuries before his time, to Dr. Alan Turing, the famous English computer scientist credited with helping to crack the Nazi war machine’s enigma code that is estimated to have ended the Second World War far sooner than the conflict otherwise would have, this obvious truth should by now be beyond crystal clear. Despite being ostracized and targeted by society for centuries, gay people not only potentially have plenty to contribute, but some actually desire to do so even in the face of often hateful adversity.
Simply put, qualifications trump orientation.
A person who wants to contribute to improving the world for all humankind should not be shunned, judged or persecuted simply because he or she does not fit into someone else’s worldview of what is considered normal.
Quite the opposite ó such individuals should be provided with the support they need to reach their full potential, which in the end benefits us all.