We’re all individuals with our own identities and our own beliefs. However, some people believe their identities and beliefs are more important than those of others. In fact, most people do. It’s natural to care more for our own issues than those of others. But what happens when I try to force my ideology down my neighbor’s throat?

The radical left happens. One of today’s issues of preference is gender. A new philosophy has arisen suggesting gender is fluid and it is subject to change on a whim.

As off-putting as this can be, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. However, it starts to be a problem when one person tries to force an opinion on someone else.

The man credited with the invention of the separation of sex and gender is a sexologist named Dr. John Money. If his name sounds like a villainous quack whose poor medical ethics led to death and destruction, then you have the right idea of him.

Money is best known for his dealings with the Reimer family in the 1960s. During this time, the family gave birth to twin boys. When the family brought the boys to be circumcised, the technology malfunctioned and left the first boy’s genitals inoperable. Stricken with grief, the family sought a way to make life easier for their son.

Along the way, they found Dr. Money, who offered the solution of their dreams. Unfortunately, the family found out too late into the treatment their dream was actually a nightmare.

Dr. Money told them about his gender gate theory, which suggested a child’s gender was malleable if influenced prior to age two. To test his theory, he advised the family to raise their son as a daughter instead.

Money’s theory of nurture over nature proved faulty, however, when the family’s new “daughter” continued to display traits typical of a young boy. While activities and preferences are not inherently determined by gender, this was enough to prove there was little merit to Money’s theory.

Money’s failure didn’t only hurt his own prospects, though. Once the family told their children about the treatment, the affected child immediately reverted back to identifying as a male and took on the name David.

The change affected both the boys with psychological trauma, leading to the premature deaths of both sons. To make matters worse, both deaths were reportedly suicides.

Now, this story isn’t to suggest having a non-traditional approach to gender identity is a bad thing. Instead, we should remember the doctor brainwashed a child with messy gender politics and lead to the family fracture, including the early death of two youths.

It would be melodramatic to say forcing things like this on anyone else would have the same effect. But it’s not fair to demand someone refer to us as a particular gender when, in the other person’s philosophy, we are not this particular gender and only two exist.

An age-old American adage suggests some variation of “my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” We have the freedom to identify as any gender we choose or even none at all. On the same token, others have the freedom to refer to us as whichever gender they perceive us to be.

The point of language is to communicate. Language changes and evolves over time, but it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. Gender is a part of how we describe and oftentimes identify someone.

For serious things like census data and sociological and scientific research, it’s important to be on the same page so as to have meaningful research. After all, science has shown biological and chemical differences between men and women, and these differences could have a meaningful effect on such research.

Casually, gender is an important identifier. When meeting someone for the first time based on a reference from school, work or a friend, knowing what to look for is super useful. Referring to someone as “that woman with the high cheek bones” is clearer than referring to someone as “that person.”

Thousands of gender identities popping up each day isn’t killing anyone, but it’s harming how we interact, and it often harms our perception of self. When we’re searching for who we are as youths, it’s more liberating to learn to see things as they are and come to deal with the world as it is as opposed to how we want it to be.

Keeping in line with freedom of speech and belief, it’s okay if someone doesn’t agree. However, this applies to both sides, and we must all take care to respect each other’s boundaries.

Kyle Richoux is a 20-year-old sociology sophomore from LaPlace, Louisiana.

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