Transgender’s admission to women's university, ready to accept it or not?
Stories related to sexual minorities, especially about transgenders, are becoming an issue in Korean society these days. Transgender people think his or her physical and mental gender are the opposite of each other. In fact, the question of whether to recognize transgender people as changed gender identity continues to be up for debate. That's why there is a bit controversy surrounding a transgender woman's entry into a women's college. There is a positive stance in support of her, saying that she provides hope for the future to various sex minorities; while there is a negative stance against her, saying that gender change is only a judge's arbitrary judgment and that women's space should not be invaded. Our society can no longer avoid confronting the problem of sexual minorities. While the pros and cons of the issue are constantly butting heads, let's look at both sides.
Transgender People Should be Guaranteed the Right to Enter Women’s College.
On January 30th, it was reported that a transgender woman was accepted into the law department of Sookmyung Women's University. However, she said, "I withdrew my admission because I am so afraid of opposing voices." She sought to follow the path of Park Han-hee, a lawyer who is already protecting the human rights of sexual minorities, as a transgender lawyer. Her courage could have given others courage to follow her even though she had also suffered in the face of opposition from many. Our society is still obsessed with prejudice and turning a blind eye to some minorities. However, they are people who deserve respect, like others, and their sexual identity is an area that cannot be decided by a third party. Let's find out why a transgender woman, who wanted to enter Sookmyung Women's University, should have her rights guarenteed.
First, gender identity has been a constant throughout history, and is essential still. The concept of "gender," which distinguishes itself from the "sex" designated from birth, was used as a meaning of liberation for women who were more culturally discriminated against in society. However, the word "gender" does not only mean our social gender role, but also has a perceived meaning. Respecting a person’s sexual identity that they perceive of as different as others was not an area of debate or persuasion as it is now. This corresponds to the basic respect associated with dignity and individual character. Sexual identity is such a private area that there should be no reason for public debate. It is also important to create an inclusive and acceptable social environment for their identity. One of the most representative schools is Ocha Nomizu Women's University in Japan. Starting with this school, a society is shaping up where transgender women entering a women’s college entrance is taken for granted, not simply "acceptable." Korea should also create a social environment in line with this atmosphere.
Second, an individual's identity is not an area that a third party can judge. Those who oppose a transgender women's admission to women's colleges want to define women in what they think is a true "female qualification and scope." However, we need to think about what “true female qualifications” are. What we need to pay attention to is not biological "sex" but social and cultural "gender." Gender does not mean biological sex, which is distinguished by the type of genitals and chromosomes. In other words, it is different from the dichotomous sex determined by others at birth, and this cannot be the standard for defining genders. Recently, many foreign sites have put "agender" as a new option when choosing gender when creating an account. Facebook, for example, recognizes people with a third sex by adding a custom options that previously had only female and male. In addition, just last year, for the first time in the EU, Germany legally recognized intersex, neither male nor female. This appears to be the first step toward the right direction in which society recognizes diversity. Reflecting these social changes, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatry Association (APA) removed transgender from the mental illness category. They are not suffering from a disease that needs to be treated, but they should be recognized as one identity. As such, the identity of transgenders is not an issue that a third party can meddle in. Therefore, they should respect their thoughts and decisions.
Third, disallowing transgender people to enter the school runs counter to the spirit of the establishment of women's universities. She applied for the law department at Sookmyung Women's University not only simply to get recognition as a woman, but had also already applied for gender correction last October after completing a transition operation. In other words, it is perfectly fine to enter a women's university legally. Some people say that the entry of a transgender woman into women's colleges goes against the purpose of their establishment. Because a women's university is a space for people who were been born and lived as women. However, the purpose of the women's university was to provide education to a group that was denied education in the past. The key goal is to provide education rights to women without discrimination and to foster more female leaders to create an equal society. Therefore, the admission of a transgender woman, who recognizes herself as a woman and is legally recognized as a woman, cannot be seen as undermining the educational ideology of women's universities. The Korean Women's Friendship Society argues that “According the spirit of Sookmyung Women's University, the admission of transgender students to Sookmyung Women's University is perfectly deserved.” It is clearly aversion and discrimination to deny the identity of a specific person, to try to ostracize them even though they know the pain of discrimination.
Eventually, the transgender student gave up entering Sookmyung Women's University because how she was viewed and treated by others. What could we learn from this incident? Recently, there have been people who proudly reveal their sexual identity not only in universities but also in many other parts of society. They protect themselves by promoting their dignity and rights in their respective living areas. I hope that people keep in mind that the total amount of human rights has never been set amid constant abhorrence and discrimination. One's human rights growth is by no means an infringement of another’s rights. The specific circumstances they reveal, such as Army Sergeant Byun Hee-soo, who is serving in the military after the sex change operation, have become the courage of changes they pose to society, and their courage has become someone else's courage. We must build a society in which we listen to minority voices and respect them. Recall the socially disadvantaged who are driven out of society by a group of people claiming the right to hate. There should be no turning a blind eye to minorities or the disadvantaged.
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