Internalize and hurt

I’ve written about rule internalization in the past. It’s when people care more about a rule itself than the reason for the rule. It’s a good mark of someone who isn’t doing much thinking.

I’ve also written about a lot of discrimination. I’ll spare myself the tediousness of linking back to a number of stories and just point out one particularly relevant to the rest of this post: when Constance McMillen was denied the right to wear a tux to her senior prom. A gay female student wanted to attend prom with her girlfriend while wearing something besides a dress. The school acted out of bigotry and denied her that right. (And then got sued and lost, but continued its campaign to alienate Constance anyway.)

Now there’s the case of Oakleigh “Oak” Reed at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Michigan. Oak is a transgendered student at his school and, by all accounts, seems to be well accepted by his classmates and teachers. Even the administration has made some correct decisions with him.

Teachers use him, his, and he when referring to Oakleigh in class. The school has allowed him to wear a tuxedo when marching with the band at football games and he has been given permission to wear the male robe and cap at graduation.

But then Oak decided to run for homecoming king. Like 500 million other people, he turned to the Internet.

[Oak] let the school community know he was running for homecoming king on Facebook.

The honors student quickly became the leading candidate.

He even won. Oakleigh Reed is the 2010 homecoming king at Mona Shores High School.

Except the administration doesn’t see this fact.

“They told me that they took me off because they had to invalidate all of my votes because I’m enrolled at Mona Shores as a female,” Oakleigh told Wood TV.

Assistant Superintendent Todd Geerlings told Wood TV, “The ballots gave two choices — vote for a boy for king and a girl for queen.”

This is rule internalization at its worst. So the hell what if the ballot is black and white? There is no rational justification in what Geerlings is doing. (But is that much of a surprise coming from someone who has chosen to spend his life in high school?) The reason the ballot only gives two choices is because it would be unwieldy and silly to have it say “Vote for a boy for king and a girl for queen. And, oh, vote for transgendered students based upon official school records.”

This is a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenario. If Oak wants any shot at being voted homecoming royalty, he must run as a girl and be crowned a queen – something which would make him a liar to himself and his identity. It’s ridiculous that Geerlings desires that such a thing happen. But giving it an honest shot means Oak can’t be crowned – even though he actually is the 2010 Mona Shores High School homecoming king.

Congratulations to Oak for winning. Shame on Geerlings and co. for acting shamefully and internalizing rules.

But I’m not directly addressing what matters; maybe I could just sum up this entire post in one line: Don’t treat people like shit.

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27 Responses

  1. Is there a scientific basis for girls who believe they are boys and the opposite? If there is no science backing the assertion up I’d think you would conclude it’s a false assertion.

  2. The claim that Oak is transgendered and identifies himself as a boy isn’t a false one.

  3. Sounds like a delusion.

  4. Yep, delusion, alright – Nate’s. LOL

    He thinks he is a god and decides what is best for all.

  5. Well Bob she* thinks she* is a boy. I really couldn’t care less about the whole thing to be honest, however she believes something that is clearly not true. The only person that its true for is her/him.

    Unless I’m mistaken Bob, thinking that you are God is not the only definition of a delusion.

  6. You’re missing the point Nate.

    He says he’s a boy. It’s his gender identity.

    Who the -hell- are you to say what another persons gender is?

    Get over yourself.

  7. Well as I said, I don’t really care. I’m just concerned over the lack of scrutiny applied to peoples personal beliefs.

    I “should not” believe in God because the is no measurable proof. I can only assume that these people would apply the same logic if there is no measurable proof of her being a male.

    You missed my point really, but you would have to have followed several other conversations to pick it out.

  8. This isn’t an instance where we want to rely on traditional ideas of evidence. Identity is something personal that is defined from within. That makes Oak the authority on his identity.

  9. But a belief in God requires traditional evidence. Kind of picking and choosing. Is there a list of what requires evidence someplace?

  10. If someone says Oak’s chromosomes are male, then we could look towards some hard evidence because the claim is independent of what Oak says. The same applies to the claim that God exists. That’s a statement that is independent of the person making it. However, when Oak says he identifies as a boy, we’re only calling him a liar if we say that isn’t true. Just the same, if someone claims to believe in God, we’d be calling that person a liar to say that isn’t true. Of course the person believes in God. Of course Oak identifies as a boy. But the claim that God exists or that Oak has male chromosomes is a separate one.

  11. But the claim that God exists or that Oak has male chromosomes is a separate one.

    One claim is testable, the other is not.

    The claim that God exists and Oak’s claim that he identifies as a boy are both statements that anyone is free to make in the US. Both of these claims though are also free to be disputed, discussed or ridiculed by one and all in our secular society.

  12. She/He can identify as whatever she/he desires, I couldn’t care less, its really not any of my business. The claim seems to still suffer from the same issues as a belief in God and should be subject to the same criticisms.

  13. If I were to care, and I were to ridicule, you would instantly denounce me as any one or combination of about 100 things. Should you ridicule my belief in God you would think yourself noble, or so its always seems.

    Double standard? I fully realize I’m not a “special protected class” of person.

  14. The claim seems to still suffer from the same issues as a belief in God and should be subject to the same criticisms.

    This isn’t true. I precisely explained the difference. What part is confusing?

  15. I understood what you said. I simply reject the the explanation that there is such a large difference.

  16. Okay, when you say you believe in God, I’m going to need all the possible scientific evidence in order to back that up. I mean, it’s just so unreasonable for me to take you at your word.

  17. You know what I’m getting at here.

  18. Yes, you’re trying to say that the sort of evidence needed to prove God to others is the same as what is required to believe that someone identifies a certain way.

  19. Has it not been stated over and over that belief without proof is irrational?

  20. This discussion could not be more stupid, and I am watching clowns at Ringling Bros circus dint now.

  21. Your contributions are boundless.

  22. Nate, your spewings contribute nothing of value.

  23. Worthless as you may think my contributions are, at least I contribute. I don’t find many other dissenting voices here so I would have imagined one would be valued.

    But than you don’t really value diversity of opinion.

  24. You are correct. When the opinion contradicts evidence, facts, reality, logic, common sense and is based on woo, then it’s diversity is not only useless but derails the discussion, just like you derailed this one.

  25. That’s very strange since evidence, facts, reality, logic and common sense would all say she is female.

    If I were to “identify” as a moose the same would be true. She calls herself male, this is untrue.

    I’ll reiterate that it really doesn’t concern me one way or the other. It affects me not. I’m playing devils advocate.

  26. Has it not been stated over and over that belief without proof is irrational?

    My evidence is that Oak says he identifies as male. I don’t have a good reason to believe he’s a liar, so his claim about himself is good enough for me.

  27. I’ve said my piece on this post, I won’t drag it on any longer. Thanks for being a good sport, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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