Marcus Bowen’s latest article: http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2009/3/17/nation-should-say-no-foca/
I want to preface this letter by first saying that I do apologize for the ignorant responses you may have received. To attack one’s family and or personal character is neither praiseworthy nor permissible. However, in regards to those who oppose you, I would argue that you get what you give. When you offer ignorant opinions that you will surely receive in return.
I do thank you for opening up this dialog in the most appropriate public forum for the student body—The Maneater. Still, your opinions, while respected on my part are not accepted. You simply do not seem to understand anything about this issue, and I hope that before the vote you make some effort in properly educating yourself before deciding that such issues are radical and ridiculous.
Truthfully, this is an amendment that will protect every individual within the MU system, because we all have a gender identity, Mr. Bowen. However, if you insist on making this a transgender-focused issue, let me shine a little light on why anti-discrimination clauses that include gender identity and expression are needed.
Transgender youth are among the highest numbers of the homeless in the LGBT community. Countless transgender individuals have been denied health care, left to die on the streets and even in hospitals, or do not even seek proper health care for the aforementioned reasons. Many have been fired once their biological sex was exposed, and innumerable others are denied work from the very start.
You see, Mr. Bowen, your ideology is not new. You are certainly no revolutionary in your opposition to rights or understanding of the LGBT community or its terms. You are correct in your assertion that we cannot make rules for everything, but human beings are not things. This is where you seem to have your disconnect, and I beseech you to understand and humanize the personal issues behind this clause before you dismiss it. If an anti-discrimination clause were proposed to protect “ignorant white male opinion,” I’d protect you, but the First Amendment has beat me to the punch. I would also like to point out that that same First Amendment allows freedom of expression, an expression that should be readily protected, Mr. Bowen.
I think you really need to understand some definitions. Tolerance and acceptance are in no way synonymous. In fact, they are prime examples of the very definition of dichotomy. You tolerate a crying child in Hy-Vee because you have to get this week’s shopping done. You tolerate an itchy throat and a bad cough until the NyQuil kicks in. You do not tolerate an individual’s identity or social status, especially when that individual is continually discriminated against and left behind in this so called “land of opportunity” we reside in.
I tolerate your opinion, no matter how ignorant, Mr. Bowen. However, I refuse to accept the ignorance of your position. Identity is not to be tolerated. Once we as a society stop looking at identity as a choice or a rebellious act against our heteronormative society, we can truly move into accepting individuals as they are and not how we as society want them to be.
I cannot and do not wish to speak to or chip away at your personal character. Nevertheless, opinions like yours only continue to perpetuate the student belief that our institution is too focused on making and preserving money rather than educating individuals like you on diversity and life outside of society’s white hierarchy.
Being that you are quite the fan of the Republic Party, let me tell you one of the many reasons why Barack Obama is your leader for the next four years. One thing that President Obama understands that few political leaders grasp is that educational institutions serve as microcosms for the society we long to live in.
Unlike innumerable others, Obama sees how the many facets of our society and the identities of its individuals intersect. The young minds of MU and other higher institutions of learning move on to become the future leaders of our nation, and it’s not just the education that serves them well, but the cultural and social experiences therein. Policies of justice and equality must start somewhere, and if they can begin here then let them. If the government won’t protect everyone, then at least everyone can be safe here. As future leaders, our MU haven can and should mirror the greater nation we long to change for the better. Ha, we pay enough for it.
You are right about one thing, Mr. Bowen.
The university is not and should not be a “wonderful peaches and cream utopia,” nowhere is. Conversely, as a white male (whose life experiences I am not privy to) I feel little hesitation in saying that discrimination is not a strong pillar in your daily existence. And don’t throw that “affirmative action is out to get me” game this way. That’s a tune long off the Top 40’s list.
Again, I apologize for the malicious emails you received, and again I have made no judgment on your character. In fact, I’d even offer up an afternoon to have a friendly chat with you. As with any cause, we’re often left to change one mind and one heart at a time.
Gamma Rho Lambda, President