Gender Politics at Marshall

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Logan is on the left, Abigail is on the right.

Erick Gabrielyan, Newspaper Editor

Gender and sexuality politics have been a topic of growing interest for the past few years as the world is becoming more and more open-minded. The conversation had started to gain traction with the story of Caitlyn Jenner and many other publicly trans individuals. That was also around the time that popular YouTubers like Connor Franta and Ingrid Nilsen came out as homosexual. Such events have caused a spark of nuanced dialogues regarding gender identity, sexuality, transgenderism, non-binary identities, and bathroom use.

Marshall’s own SAGE club introduces and discusses some of these topics. SAGE stands for “sexual and gender equality”. When I interviewed club leaders Logan Wheeler and Abigail Schlecht, they told me that SAGE is a place where students can feel safe sharing their experiences and expressing their identities. It’s a small, but rapidly growing community of diverse identities and allies.

An idea held by this group is that gender is non-binary and a “spectrum”. They also explained that gender is the amount of femininity and masculinity someone expresses. Someone can be gender-fluid or agender. There is little science for these claims, but this could change in coming years.

One major problem for trans or non-binary students is being misgendered. These students may have to face incorrect pronouns or being referred to as the wrong gender. The seemingly easy solution that they propose is to just ask how someone identifies. “Just pull them aside and ask,” said Schlecht. “Some people may think that it’s rude to ask, but it’s better than referring to them as the wrong gender”.

Another major issue for them is bathroom usage. In the case of trans student Logan Wheeler, the female bathroom is uncomfortable, while the male bathroom is not allowed. He currently has to use the nurse’s bathroom. A goal of the club is to establish a unisex bathroom for students who have the same conundrum. Leaders of the club have requested this change to Dr. Anderson, principal of Marshall. A gender neutral bathroom is pending.

Hopefully, the future looks better for the students in question, making Marshall a better place for everyone.