Opinions of the Hour

Trudeau government’s needless obsession with gender is exhausting” — Christie Blatchford, Vancouver Sun

Here’s an example of an op-ed that is just begging to be dismantled. Blatchford is basically just another person complaining about the political correctness of the Trudeau government. Now, to be fair, Trudeau’s government is cringey, and many of its apparent attempts to be socially aware come off as desperate and shallow. But Blatchford’s particular arguments here are completely ridiculous and fairly transphobic.

She starts off complaining about how awful it is that Service Canada representatives are using gender-neutral pronouns where possible, and asking people which salutation (Mr., Mrs., etc.) to use for them. I’m sorry . . . what, Christie? How does this affect you? Is that extra 15 seconds of asking how to address you such a drain on your life force?

Later, she offers this gem: “It’s not as though women, born or made, in Canada are systematically oppressed or subjugated . . . it’s not as though most people have time or inclination to worry about their pronoun of choice, least of all to demand that they be addressed by it.”

Firstly, there are unfortunate implications to the use of “born or made” as a binary with which to talk about gender. Just because someone did not present as female their entire lives doesn’t mean they just magically switched their gender identity one day. The narrative that non-cisgender women have simply remade themselves to match the category of “female” is blatantly incorrect.

Secondly, let’s not pretend that Canada is free of sexism. We still regularly see stories of women who have been mistreated in professional settings, underpaid, targeted by gendered violence, and more. Trans women and femmes especially face stigma; in particular, they continue to be extremely prominent targets of violent crime. Aside from this, one story related by The Globe and Mail is that of a transgender woman who was denied a job on the grounds that she “would probably be more suited to working in a drag club” with “people like [her].”

Thirdly, as far as people having no “time or inclination” to care how they are addressed: Blatchford, clearly you do care about how people address you, or you wouldn’t be raising a fuss about people asking for your preferred appellation.

More to the point, it’s easy for you to dismiss proper pronoun use, because as a cisgender person, you will never seriously be called a pronoun that you don’t identify with.

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