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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Transgender Student Sues Miami U. for Gender Discrimination

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Kaeden Kass v. Miami University
  • Kaeden Kass v. Miami University

Like most fresh soil in the realm of civil rights, this here is wobbly ground. A transgender student down at Miami University has filed a discrimination complaint against the school. The filing basically tosses the administration out into the hot lights and forces them to make a decision — one that, unfortunately for Miami, is probably going to piss off some camp regardless of how they go.

Student Kaeden Kass wants to be a RA in a male dormitory, according to Newsnet5. No biggie — except Kass was born a female and now self-identifies as a male. Kaeden was assigned a female dorm, so he decided to file the civil rights suit charging housing discrimination.

The student says the school indicated they were just going by what was on Kass’ legal record (female), not with the chosen label herself (male). The report points out the school does offer gender neutral housing, which are usually delicate arrangements schools set up in order to keep at bay any actual confrontations over transgender student life. Kass is obviously rocking that balance — as is his right.

Not to get all po-mo media nerd on you, but just the way this story has been covered is an interesting microcosm of the greater sociological heaving lifting at play here. These are the lines from the Associated Press report referring to Kass:

Multiple media outlets report that Miami University student Kaeden Kass filed a discrimination complaint with the university saying he should be in a dormitory suite with males but was assigned to a female one. Media outlets report Kass says he is listed as female on his birth certificate but is now living as a man.

Notice the pronouns? Now, in the Newsnet5 report embedded below, the anchor says: “. . . here’s the catch. Kaeden Kass was born a female. Her birth certificate . . .”

Minor point, we know. But we’re just saying, it’s hard to imagine our major institutions (universities, government, whatever) knocking together an intelligent solution, much less having a meaningful discussion, on a topic like this if we can’t even figure out how to talk about the people involved.

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