Conformity: The Gender Edition

Some friends and I were discussing the concept of gender conformity recently. I was reminded once again why this matters to me. As old classmates and friends alike continue to grow into having families of their own, I have heard a significant amount of talk regarding the child’s gender than how they intend to involve the child in their lives. There are gendered games, colors, books, and toys. Our society has, for a long time, decided what is acceptable and what is not. These norms sometimes change, but the concepts don’t tend to stray far from their original ideologies. Sometimes, this is cultural. Such as in Nordic Countries such as Sweden, there have been programs implemented since 1998, when an amendment was made to Sweden’s Education Act, which stated that schools needed to begin to work against the way of gender stereotyping. They are ahead of the United States in this way, which does not have a law against gender stereotyping. There are some plans we have worked on, such as replacing the terms ‘husband ‘ and ‘wife’  would become replaced with the phrase ‘married couple’, to put less reflection on why it mattered what the sex is of the person that they married. It’s significant and it matters, but it’s unlike the progress that other countries have made. This law has not been passed, so it’s more of a dream to Americans everywhere who feel that their marriage should reflect less on who they marry on paper. People are so much more than a sex, and people are more than a gender, but gender can become a major part of a person’s identity. There has been a common belief that there are only two genders: boy and girl. Boy and girl is dependent on the sexual anatomy of a person. Gender is more of who a person feels that they are. Sometimes this doesn’t line up with their physical anatomy. This doesn’t make them wrong, or weird, but they often feel ashamed. This shame can come from the way that they were raised, or how people around them were. Community makes a large impact, and people often underestimate the power of society. Building the social interactions around you starts with family, or who you have become to know as family. It progresses into school, and the friendships formed there. Alliances are formed, but a certain toxicity in the environment exists. Alliances can turn. Trust can be ruined, and it’s a very difficult bond to piece back together once it’s severed. The beneficial aspect of being in a more tight knit environment is what gives people a sense of community. The benefits of community, from a psychological standpoint, make a difference in how people form relationships. From childhood, for example, children in some schools in Sweden interact in such a way that they are seen as equals and they don’t have toys separate them, or the way that teachers address the students. They have the gender neutral term ‘hen’ as a pronoun to address children, regardless of their sex. The success of this is a work in progress, and as children grow into what we refer to as the ‘real world’, they have a chance to either hold onto what they grew up with and make an effort to contribute to a revolution and create ‘egalia’, the word for equality in Swedish. Their other option is becoming silent and simply accepting the inequalities. They can live contently this way, but I have personally learned that I’d rather be a little afraid in being a part of a change, than letting a problem snowball. I learned what matters to me, and I have no wish to live life in fear. Other European countries feel the same way and though America is behind in this way, I will be part of the community who stands up and fights against gender inequality.


Combining Science and Religion

Science is as much as a world of knowledge as the information that you will find in whatever bible that you read. People seem to feel the need to choose one and I’m going to tell you why it’s okay to combine your beliefs, and why you don’t have to sacrifice one set of beliefs for the other.

Science has a never-ending amount of information to give us. It gives us valuable information pertaining to weather, space, and advancements in medicine. Religion bases all of the past and future on what is written biblical. This is valuable in a different way than science is; it provides hope, and if you choose to take the path of your religion, you will find peace and steadiness in what you believe. You never have to question anything, as your religion likely provides you with answers for anything that comes up, especially anything controversial. The issue with this is that sometimes, controversy is good. Not questioning a particular subject could actually be harmful. For example, if we didn’t question certain ideas or theories, we would lose out on learning crucial information. Such as, what if one day someone didn’t bother to learn what chemicals and products react dangerously together, such as rubbing alcohol and bleach, which form chloroform? We always need to be careful and research to improve the science that we are fortunate enough to have access to, and science can help us do more good than harm.

Religious readings and documents everywhere also hold information that many people hold close to their hearts. This is not a poor way to think and live, but it can be detrimental when it’s all you think about, when it’s all you believe, and when you don’t allow yourself to open your mind to other concepts. Even God did, in the common biblical theory that he created the universe, recognized that no man can count the stars. Not even himself.  Jeremiah 33:22 reads ““As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.” Psalm 135:7 references the hydrologic cycle, for it reads “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” The bible shows science in reference to weather and space in such examples, never discrediting the scientific evidence that we have come up with over time. The bible also discusses physical and mental well-being in great detail. We did not have the vaccinations like we do today in biblical times, but people used plants to make medicine, which is now known as holistic medicine. Physicians were known as healers. An example of this is stated in Ezekiel 47:12, which reads “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” There is no evidence that contradicts holistic or modern medicine, thus allowing us to take advantage of the medical treatments that we have access to.

In conclusion, we are meant to know more than just one side of theories in the world. The bible has statements as valuable as scientific concepts and evidence. The world is far too broad for us to choose just one way of thinking.

We are destroying dreamers.

The decision to terminate DACA is more than just another ridiculous decision from the Trump administration. Everything that has been rescinded so far, has impacted a group of people that already have enough to deal with in their lives. I believe that it is terrible and unnecessary, to ignore the cries of those in Flint, Michigan who just NEED clean running water and cut off that investigation. I believe it is unnecessary and cruel to not let transgender people into the military. The removal of DACA impacts children. Perfect and peaceful children who have done nothing wrong in simply living. These children grow to contribute majorly to society all over the United States. These children become doctors who save you, these children become musicians to the art that you love to listen to, and these children become lawyers that you need. There are over 800,000 of them. Your children are friends with them. Children are not born with hatred, it is learned. You may hate immigrants despite the strength that they have given to this country. In case you forgot, this country was built in large part by immigrants, and many people believe that America is the greatest country in the world. When you say that, make sure to say it in full truth, remembering the labor that people have gone through to make America what we know it as today. These children deserve lives here without any more trouble than they already have, it’s not easy to come here, those parents and their children have gone through chaotic circumstances to give them a chance here to be successful. By the removal of DACA, you take that away from them in nothing but cruelty just because of your predisposed belief that immigrants are bad and have no use to us in society.