Mis(pronoun)ciation: A Matter of Rights

Mis(pronoun)ciation: A Matter of Rights

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Creigston Brathwaite started this petition to barbadians

Mis(pronoun)ciation: The Counter Petition

Whose human rights are more important? Yours or mine? His or hers? This seems to be the more fitting question when considering the matter of the transgender child whose mother has contested the position of the Providence Secondary School in Barbados. The school stands accused of discrimination against her 14-year-old son who was born a boy but identifies as a girl.

The mother has gone so far as to make the accusation that her “daughter was forced to wear a male uniform for the entire duration of the last school year”. We find this statement to be greatly exaggerated for a few reasons…

1.     No school in Barbados “forces” a student to wear any particular article(s) of clothing. We have specific uniforms and yes we expect male students to wear male uniforms and female students to wear female uniforms. This is not illegal and it is not an act of discrimination. That is simply how school uniforms work.

2.     The school is clearly abiding with the norm as practiced here in Barbados. This is not for the sake of victimizing either mother or child but to maintain a standard as would be expected not only by the Board of Management but the parents of the other students and the students themselves.

The mother further accused that “she was constantly referred to as a boy by some of the local teachers and she felt singled out and embarrassed”. Now we are aware of the fight for gender pronouns in larger territories and fundamentally do not agree with this principle however, we are particularly distressed by this accusation in particular for a few reasons…

1.     Exactly where does Human Right #19 one’s right to freedom of speech/expression fit into the picture when one person or group or persons is allowed to dictate to others what pronouns they can be addressed by? In Barbados we teach that “it is not what you are called but what you answer to”. Perhaps these greater territories should mimic us in this mantra.

2.     While the LGBTQ community has a right to freely express their desire to be addressed as they see fit I can’t help but feel as though they are literally bullying the rest of the world at times when they infringe on the rights of others under the guise of a fight against oppression. This is clearly a contradiction of Human Right #29 one’s responsibility to other people and the protection of their rights and freedoms when they use international petitions to embarrass a privately owned learning institution like the Providence Secondary School and by extension a tourism dependent country like Barbados with exaggerated accusations of self-perceived discrimination?

In summary we say that while we in Barbados may not have as advanced a legal system as in some parts of the world we are proud of our track record which generally leans in favour of goodwill and common sense. We have seen much more “advanced territories” demonstrate just how slippery a slope the subject of gender to be. They have moved from two genders to (who knows how many right now) and as a result they now face what we can only describe as an eruption of madness the likes of which humanity has never seen before.

In countries where citizens are assured a constitutional right to practice their religion freely we see business owners now being sued to the point of losing their livelihood simply because they practice a religion which does not approve of a specific lifestyle. We see middle-aged males identifying as 12-year-old girls freely accessing female public restrooms with little girls. We see legislation being used to compel citizens to use specific words as dictated by others.

We believe the school got a bit ahead of itself when it agreed to acknowledge the chosen pronouns of the child/parent as this immediately surrenders linguistic supremacy but we won’t go there as we all know where this agenda ultimately leads. Once the male child is accepted as a female student what should we expect next? Will the male student identifying as female be allowed to use the female bathroom? How will the female students feel about this? How will their parents? Will the male student identifying as female be allowed to compete in sports as a female? How will the female athletes feel about this? How will their parents?

Barbados we have seen this unfold in the media many times over. We DO NOT need to mimic the madness of “advanced territories” just because. We are an intelligent people capable of observation, critical thinking and drawing our own conclusions.

What Do We Want?

1.     We are asking that the parent simply respect the laws of the land and the policies of the school.

2.     We are asking that the school not try to obligate students or staff to use language which restricts their free expression. The use of pronouns should be at the discretion of the speaker and the addressee should be free to reserve the right to respond (or not) as they so choose.

3.     We are asking that there be equal consideration for the rights of all involved.

4.     We are asking that the Ministry of Education, Government and even the LGBTQ community be mature enough to ignore this inconsiderate move against this land and it’s people on the basis of principle.

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