The news about someone that is unsure about their gender is not really that foreign these days. It seems like a lot of celebrities and even some regular (and I use that term loosely) people are having some difficulty with their gender. Recently there was a news story about a boy in a school that decided he should be a girl. So of course it was logical that he should be able to use the girls restrooms and the girls locker rooms, well at least logical to the parents. The school took the proper action and isolated this one student to a staff area until it could be decided what to do. The parents of other students weren’t quite as confused, they didn’t want this “boy” to share a restroom with their daughters.
And let me set the record straight here, I have no opinion about the student and his or her struggles with their gender. I am not walking in those shoes so I am not going to go down that pathway at all. This column is just a observation based on what I have seen in the media, and without doing any real research on this specific case or any other concerns.
Some might call me old fashioned, but when I was in school we used a tried and proven method for determining the gender of animals, and as far as I know it works well for people too. Now I even used this method prior to officially learning it in school. I have used this in deciding if kittens or puppies were male or female. Some animals and insects are a bit more difficult. However the common method for determining the gender of a mammal is to see just how they are equipped. As I was taught this was a very effective method, probably a 100% accurate way to tell. When I grew up I worked on farms or ranches at various times. I used this trick to determine gender of many animals. Just looking at the animal from afar might not always tell you, however a bit closer examination will take all the guess work out of the situation. Sometimes there can be a bit of confusion, but it is easily overcome. I have noticed a calf, or young animal, wanting to nurse and nuzzling up to the bull, that usually corrects itself rather quickly. So even the animal kingdom realizes that the standard method for determining gender works. Growing up around my uncle’s farm, I learned a lot about cattle. My uncle had a small herd that we tended on a regular basis. He followed the standard recipe for success, that was having one bull and several cows. Had he ignored the standard method for determining the gender he might have ended up with all bulls and one cow. This would have been a real problem, on many different levels. You can’t always tell cattle by the horns, sometimes you need to rely on the old fashioned procedures. Getting this wrong is just a way to end up with several angry bulls and a herd that isn’t going to grow.
I am going to stick with what I learned in biology when I was in school. If that means siding with the parents that want to judge a person based on their physical gender, then I guess that is what I would do as well. The news media needs to find some other things to cover as well. Surely there is someone that is trapped in a well somewhere and could use the news coverage. I am sure the poor student has enough problems without being the subject of endless news stories.
Soon we will have three restrooms to choose from. At times that might be a good thing, we can cut down on waiting times. However it will give people a chance to be comfortable whether they are conventional or confused as to which restroom they belong in.
I had an aunt that had a small poodle. She fixed him all up with a fluffy hair cut and put little pink ribbons in his hair and even painted his little toenails. At the end of the day he was still a male dog, I guess he was quite certain of his gender, all the frilly trimmings didn’t make a difference. If he was convinced then that is good enough for me. That way I don’t have to unlearn all the practical experience that I gathered on the farm.