Breaking the Binary

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (I need to stop doing that) and I ran across this article, caled “Professor Quizzes Students on Heterosexuality To Make an Important Point About Homophobia.”

I am a little unclear of how this happened.  The headline makes it sound as though straight students were given a quiz, but then some of the Tweets around it make it sound like it was a “joke” and not an actual assignment.

Either way, it is inappropriate.

Regardless of your stance on LGBTQ issues, the transgender movement has demonstrated that the whole idea of lumping all people into two categories is to oversimplify the complexities that make each of us unique.

During this last election cycle, journalists would say things like, “Clinton will clearly get the female vote” or “most of the uneducated people will vote for Trump” or ?potheads will vote for Johnson” or whatever.

While this professor tried to point out the rude questions that some people have faced, she does so by enforcing the binary of “homosexual” versus “heterosexual,” as only heterosexuals need to answer these questions.

Furthermore, one of the neat things about sexual orientation is that it is nobody’s business.   Ultimately, you can sleep with whomever you want (provided they agreeable to this) , one day to the next, and it is not the government’s business.  You don’t have to classify yourself as straight one day and then gay another day, or any other nonsense.

If this was a real assignment, the professor would be asking students to identify their sexual orientation in one of two categories (heterosexual or homosexual), publicly (at least to this professor by submitting an assignment, or not).

It is easy to target a group of people that you think have wronged you. It is easy to say, “some heterosexual people asked me inappropriate questions” and now smile as someone else asks those questions of heterosexuals.

But is that the world you want?  Is it somehow okay because your group asks another group inappropriate questions, instead of the other way around?

I’m really hoping this wasn’t a real assignment.


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