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Transgender Discrimination

The article by Barbara J. King, titled “Flexible Gender Identities Confound Expectations of A Male and Female World” addresses a woman named Riya Suising who was discriminated against at a Virginia spa. The spa has communal, sex-segregated baths and Suising was asked by management to leave because they had received five complaints from other customers. As a self-descibed tall and muscular woman with broad shoulders Suising was shocked to find out the complaints weren’t about her behavior, as she states “I was not doing anything but keeping to myself”, instead the complaints were that she did not “look female enough” to be sitting in the female bath. As I read this story I couldn’t help but try and put myself in the position of the other customers. I can understand that one may feel somewhat uncomfortable when in a situation such as being in a sex-segregated bath house with someone who is transgendered. With that being said however, the fact that Suising identifies as a women, and wasn’t behaving in any way inappropriately, the spa should have no legal grounds to exclude her. Unfortunately, in the state of Virginia, this discrimination is upheld in a situation such as this. Is it fair that someone be judged to this extreme based solely on looks? Again, the article states she was in no way portraying any negative behavior and was asked to leave the spa simply because she didn’t look feminine enough.
The fact is, the world we live in nowadays is filled with an enormous amount of gender diversity. It is no longer as simple as the old “born-male” or “born-female” dichotomy. Many people identify as being male, some identify as being female, but others even identify as both male and female or even neither. It is my personal belief that in the year 2013, it’s our responsibility as citizens of the same world to not only be more informed, but also be more aware and accepting of the ever changing world around us. Wake up people.

1 Comment

  1. dsielski says:

    There is also a fair amount of the way the two different genders would react to a situation like this. In the females side of the spa, most women would feel violated and embarrassed if they saw what they thought to be a man in their section of the spa. However, in the men’s side of the spa, most men would welcome the sight of a female to their side. Society has a crazy amount of double standards.

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