Ben Breidenthal’s post below inspired me to address the subject of transgendered people, which touches on pretty much all the themes mentioned this week. The main idea is: how are transgendered people meant to fit into society today and the future? Gender has been a fixed idea for many centuries; people are strictly classified as male or female depending on their genitals. Therefore, what happens when a person identifies as the opposite gender or even both? Transgendered people are considered outside the norm and a minority compared to those who identify with one of the two sexes.
This becomes an issue when one thinks about genetic modification, specifically for children. Children become commodities in the sense that they are like “designer babies.” Parents are able to define pretty much everything about their children, including gender. Ben brings up a good point of how people grow from overcoming hardships. How are people supposed to be human when everyone is perfect? In the case of parents choosing ideal characteristics for their child, transgender is most likely not a choice. If the future consists of all genetically modified babies, the transgender community will definitely become smaller and eventually become extinct. So genetically modifying babies can ultimately be thought of as high-tech eugenics. This also doesn’t apply to just the eventual extinction of transgendered people, but also the middle and lower classes in society. Not everyone can afford to pick out the best for their children.
But the extinction of transgendered people is happening right now through bullying and closed-minded beliefs. Just recently (December 2014), the death of a transgendered human, Leelah Alcorn made international news. Due to the pressure of societal standards of genders, Leelah Alcorn took her own life. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any people who accepted who she was, but her parents rejected the idea to such an extent that she couldn’t take it anymore. I would like to think society now is more accepting of those who are different and not within the majority of the norm, but there are still many who have their own beliefs. Here is Leelah’s suicide note that she made to auto-post on Tumblr a few hours after her death:
It seems like one of the most prominent characteristics of human nature is how humans really love to disregard things that are outside the norm. Sadly to say, transgendered people are still highly bullied and ignored today. However there have been some solutions to this issue. On the medical side, there are transition surgeries available in which a person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the other sex. Overall, what I would like to think is that science should be focusing on greater issues and “designer babies” should really be regulated. People should also be more open-minded and aware of the transgendered community and things that are beyond the norm.
I will be presenting week 10 on week 9’s material.