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The Current

Change in gender identity stereotyping necessary

Bear River’s counselors are always on campus to help support Bruins. Photo by Isaiah Williams

Girl, boy, man, woman, queer, straight, what does it all mean? American teens around the world are grappling with their understanding of this question, including those at Bear River.

Junior Connor McGehee described his thoughts of the general opinion concerning what people thought about changing one’s gender identity.

“I feel like if that is what makes you happy, go right ahead, doesn’t hurt anybody else,” he said. “So as long as you are happy, [that] is what matters.”

Freshman Milo Fassel, who was born with the name Emily, shared his own opinion.

“I do not see anything wrong with it – people are people,” he said. “Like if a guy wants to identify female, or a girl feels more like a guy or neither, that is fine. There is nothing wrong with it.”

Teachers responded with an outstanding amount of positivity concerning gender identity.

“I feel all teachers are here to help our students learn to become upstanding and successful citizens and adults,” said Theater Tech teacher Erin Beatie. “In helping our students, we all do our best to accommodate needs and to, not only respect but also appreciate all the differences each child carries. So, I feel every teacher, at some level, acknowledges gender identity and much, much more.”

Vicky Stanton, the school psychologist, elaborated on the matter with her personal opinion.

“I believe that gender identity is something teachers should acknowledge,” she said.

However, some people are a little confused by the idea. Senior Alex Siegenthaler explained what he thought about the matter.

“I think it is a little weird,” he said. “I think you are born who you are. I believe they can do what they want, but to me, I find it odd.”

Being respectful of everyone’s gender and identity is essential, and even if someone does not agree, they can still respect.

“It is not gonna change what I think of them,” Freshman Joseph Knox said. “If I like them for their personality, that is not gonna change what I think of them.”

We learn, and we improve. Gender identity is vital in everyone’s lives. Everyone has an identity, and it may not be what is original, but no matter what, everyone matters.

Sophomore Jake Vogt, who was initially born as a female and now is non-binary, agreed with this.

“They do what they are comfortable in, and it’s all about getting comfortable in your own body and wanting to feel correct,” Vogt said.

McGehee added onto their words with support, coming from the best of both opinions, explaining some awkward experiences he has had.

“I feel like they’re just doing something that makes them happy and they’re not hurting anyone,” McGehee said. “They should be allowed to do that. There’s usually a kind of space where it’s awkward, where it’s like, ‘oh is it he, she, them, their.’ There’s kind of an awkward transition phase because you’ve been calling them one thing forever and you’re trying to get to that new thing, but after a little bit you get kinda used to it. It’s just who they are.”

It is easy for us to see someone as what they may have identified initially as. However, we as people need to start learning how not to assume and accept people for who or what they may identify. It may seem hard, and it is, but it is something that is important. With all of this information in mind, next time you meet someone new, try asking for their pronouns before their favorite color, and let us learn together.

— Tyler Jacobs contributed to this report. 

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Change in gender identity stereotyping necessary