Student Column on Chaz Bono, Transgender People Causes Controversy at Oklahoma State

A recent column in The Daily O’Collegian chastising Chaz Bono and other transgender people for showing “a complete lack of acceptance for their own genetics” has provoked a mini-uproar at Oklahoma State University.  More impassioned critics have labeled the piece as pure hate speech and the vitriol spouted at the writer has apparently led her to leave campus.

Written by an OK State English master’s student, the column— headlined “Lack of self acceptance, not transphobia, is the real problem”– shuttles gender reassignment in with Botox and plastic surgery as activities that she feels advocate “a false, physical sense of identity.”

“It is one thing to accept and live a homosexual lifestyle; that is an internal decision,” the columnist wrote.  “Taking it to the point of gender reassignment crosses a natural line by more or less playing God.  By idealizing Bono’s choice, supporters and activists promote the idea that everything about you could be wrong, and that everything about you can be changed.  Personally, I don’t want my impressionable nieces and nephews to see a glorified example of someone so wrapped up in their physical identity, so unwilling to accept their genetics, that they will undergo drastic changes to validate their perceived identity.”

In response, some angry readers alleged that the column– and by extension the paper– displayed an alarming “anti-transgender bias.”

As one OK State student wrote in a letter to the editor, “Apparently, transgender people are the last acceptable targets of open prejudice, deliberate misunderstanding and willful ignorance.  [The writer] demonstrates that not only does she resort to incredibly trite, and incredibly unconvincing cissexist (that is, a more accurate term to describe prejudice of transgender people than ‘transphobia’) tropes that would take less than five minutes on Google in order to clear up, she seems to be apathetic to doing research on the topic on which she is speaking. . . . As an out transgender student, I am ashamed the O’Colly printed an article that was clearly not well-researched and resorted to ‘criticisms’ that transgender people have been hearing for decades and that have been addressed for decades.”

The paper notes that the push-back has reached the levels of an “organized reaction” determined to create a “hostile environment” for those expressing and publishing more controversial viewpoints.  In a staff editorial published roughly two weeks after the column appeared, O’Collegian editors expressed “regret that [the student writer] may have been ‘ran out of town'” by critics.”

As the editorial shared, “A writer may again breech subjects that offend some, but it is never okay to create such a hostile environment that they drop out of OSU.  The Forum [the portion of the paper under which the column was run] asks its writers to dig deep and frame their views in a most hard-hitting, brutally honest manner.  We don’t endorse the views of our writers, but we do stand by their right to free speech.”

2 Responses to “Student Column on Chaz Bono, Transgender People Causes Controversy at Oklahoma State”
  1. Sarah Riggle says:

    I would agree that a person has a right to profess their “ability to free speech”; however as a University student of English Major Studies, it would seem that she is severely lacking as to her abilities to do any sort of research on this subject matter.

    She should have known that genetics can be a primary reason, cause of a person having ambigious genitalia, as in an inter-sexed person.

  2. akismet-05532be32d793f92f19bef1e4a1f0f5d says:

    No matter what day and age it is, this topics will always emerges.
    There’s always right or wrong in everyone opinions. It does not change.