I remember a time when Americans seemed much tougher. No one spoke of being represented, talked about, or talked to.
People just lived their lives.
You don’t acknowledge me? Who cares.
You think something different? Irrelevant.
People appeared to have the strength to be themselves without outside help.
Now, it seems, everyone needs to be featured and endorsed.
In my opinion, looking for affirmation is the wrong way to live. But a lot of people appear to disagree.
On Saturday night, Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox spoke to the graduating class of Claremont, California’s Pitzer College.
Laverne — a biological man who identifies as a woman — recalled a Twitter argument during which someone accused him of leaving out “trans brothers’ struggle in [the] fight” for abortion rights. To Laverne, saying it was a “woman’s” right was good enough:
“Woman’s body. Woman’s right to choose. End of story. … I said to myself: ‘Can we just have a moment where we keep this simple? There’s so much going on in the world right now and it is so complicated. Can we have a moment for women? For women to be in solidarity with each other? Can I just be in solidarity with my sisters on this issue? Do we have to make it about all of the complicated nuances of the issue?’”
But upon reflection, he realized his critic was right — trans men should be included in the abortion debate, because they can get knocked up. In their vaginas.
And language should be all about inclusivity:
“As I continued to process, I thought, for the first time, ‘What if I were a transgender man?’ What if I were a transgender man…and for whatever reason, I became pregnant unintentionally? If I were that trans man, I would really want to have language that incorporated and included my experience.’ When we use language that excludes groups of people on pertinent issues, it can jeopardize their health and well-being. Language that is appropriate and fully inclusive is a matter of life and death for so many people out there.”
Life and death?
Laverne’s message to America’s future was to not keep it simple and to make sure no one’s left out:
“What this brought up for me is that as you go out into the world, you’re going to be faced with a lot of difficult decisions, a lot of things that will make you uncomfortable, that are complicated and nuanced issues. And sometimes you might just want to keep it simple. ‘Can we focus on this part of the issue right now and just leave this out ― leave this group of people out?’ And what I would like to remind you of today is that when we are leaving people out, we are not really doing the work to be inclusive.”
Kindness is, of course, an important virtue. That being said — and with complete respect to Laverne — I believe we’re becoming a coddled culture.
Have we lost a sense of rugged individualism? In times past, a common message to graduates was, “Pursue your dreams, no matter what stands in your way. Have tenacity.”
Has the American perspective evolved into “If everyone doesn’t agree with and support you, you’ll die”?
Laverne is certainly right about one thing: A trans man can indeed get pregnant, “for whatever reason.” Just see here:
These days, graduation speeches can be anything and everything. Monday’s NYU ceremony offered a condemnation of Israel and the President of the United States (here and here). And Saturday saw a male presenting as female remind the future that language and abortion are where it’s at.
How’s the country gonna look in a hundred years? If there’s one thing time has proven over again, it’s this: However things are now, things are gonna change.
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.
If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” If it fails to automatically refresh, manually reload the page. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”