Monday, May 4, 2009

Banzhaf The Third Strikes Again

Earlier this semester I criticized GWU Law Professor John F. Banzhaf III for writing an editorial to the Hatchet in regards to efforts to add gender identity or expression to the University's non-discrimination policy. His comments and assumptions were extremely misguided, and received attention from both fellow faculty members and the press.

The Faculty Senate is set to vote on the proposal on May 8th, and if approved, it will be reviewed by President Knapp and the Board of Trustees. Given my prior post, you can imagine my delight when I heard that Banzhaff had submitted comments to the faculty senate, expressing his "concern" over the proposal.

A few of my favorite comments:
"It is not clear how the proposed amendment would apply to sports activities. Whether or not an anatomic male who has adopted a female identity can play NCAA basketball on the GW women’s rather than the men’s team, or whether such a person could play NCAA volleyball at all (since GW has only a women’s team), might (or might not) be determined by NCAA rules."
Hundreds of other schools have adopted gender identity or expression clauses into their non-discrimination policies, without facing sports-related incidents, or problems in general. Furthermore, I highly doubt that members of our women's basketball team are dying to join the men's basketball team. For one thing, our women's basketball team often performs better than our men's basketball team.
"The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities already says that “The University will not permit discrimination on grounds of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or IDENTITY, or any other ILLEGAL BASIS in any University recognized area of student life.” Since discrimination based upon “sexual identity” is already prohibited, why is there a need to add new language to protect against discrimination based upon “gender or identity expression” (which appears to be identical to “sexual identity”)? [emphasis his]
There is a difference between sexual identity and gender identity and expression. The
Handbook of Professional Ethics for Psychologists might be able to help Banzhaf out:
Sexual identity is defined as how people understand and make sense of their own sexual attractions (orientation) and behavior...Gender Identity is defined as a person's internal, psychological sense of being male or female, regardless of anatomical reality
I respect Banzhaf's right to lobby the faculty senate on the proposal to add gender identity or expression to GW's Non-Discrimination policy. However, before doing so he needs to grasp the concepts of gender identity and gender expression, so he can get his facts straight.

Full Disclosure: I am the former President of Allied in Pride, and I have an agenda. An equality agenda.


Anonymous said...

Did it ever cross your mind that maybe you are wrong about this whole "gender identity" thing? And maybe you are just extremely confused about yourself?

Why is it that you are so good at criticizing someone for being intolerant, yet you turn around and are intolerant of someone else's beliefs about life?

Is he not entitled to believe that there is no such thing as "gender identity"? Or is it because you and a handful of people with PhDs say that there is such a thing, then it means there is...?

Why do you get to define this concept? Because you think it affects you? So you have the final say that this exists? Because it affects you?

You get to rip someone else's opinions apart and call them extremely misguided and a bigot?

The only reason I am writing this anonymously is because you and your PhD buddies would do the same thing to me.

-GW Senior

Elissa said...

Anonymous....are you serious? Did you even read the blog post?

Neha says,
"I respect Banzhaf's right to lobby the faculty senate on the proposal to add gender identity or expression to GW's Non-Discrimination policy"

...yet you claim Neha's not being intolerant of his beliefs? Am I missing something? All she is doing is correcting him on agreed upon definitions and making counter points. She never once attacks him personally, she says his "comments and assumptions" are misguided, and yet that's the first thing you jump to. She also never calls him a bigot. That's a strong assertion to make when it's not true.

You basically just did what you claim Neha does. Except she didn't actually do that. She used sound, logical arguments and industry accepted definitions to counter what the professor said instead of writing something based off pure emotion, as you clearly did.

Your questions aren't even relevant as she never claims to define anything. Every definition she used is cited and taken from the expert organizations on the topic.

And a simple google search will clear up one of your misguided assumptions that only a "handful of people with PhDs" all of a sudden decided this "whole gender identity thing."

Also, yea she gets to rip his opinions apart. That's sort of what the founding fathers intended when they made the first amendment. That whole crazy freedom of speech thing. That's why you also got to respond to Neha, and why I get to respond to you. What were those crazy founders thinking when they decided that.

Finally, to your anonymous comment. I'm just going to point out that not only does Neha's name appear as the poster, but she links to another post she makes where again you can tell she's the poster as well as identifies herself as the former president of Allied in Pride. I'm confused as to where her anonymity comes in.

Rohmteen said...

In order to have any sort of debate you must first agree on the what you are debating. The terms "sexual orientation or identity" and "gender identity or expression" have clearly defined meanings that have been agreed upon by those who have written and implimented similar policies in hundreds of other colleges, cities and states. As Neha points out and Prof. Banzhaf seems to miss completely... sexual orientation or identity referes to who one is attracted to, whereas gender identity or expression refers to how one sees or expresses their gender (ie: masculine, feminine etc) regardless of their biological sex.

As for anonymous, if s/he questions the existance of the "gender identity thing," I think there are some people you should meet...

The fact is transgender people are not creations of "a handfull of people with PhDs," they are students here at GW who you've probably had a class with at some point in your college career. The question being debated now is whether GW should protect students who are transgender or gender non-conforming from discrimination in the same way that nearly 300 other universities have done already.

Neha said...

Dear anonymous,

First of all, I don't think Professor Banzhaf is a bigot. If you take a look at his website you'll noticed he's worked on behalf of many issues, including some issues I care deeply about, such as sexual harassment policies and smoking.

I do think he's incorrect on this issue, and believe I'm entitled to voice my opinion on the issue. Just like he is entitled to voice his concerns on the issue.

As the former President of a GW LGBT group, I'm well aware that not all members of the GW community are educated on LGBT issues, especially transgender related issue.

However, I do think that one needs to be careful when advocating against a policy, if they don't understand the basic concepts that are the foundation for the policy. I have yet to see in Professor Banzhaf's editorials or public comments that he has an understanding of sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity, or gender expression.


P.S. My "Ph.D buddies" and I don't comment anonymously. If I'm taking a stand on an issue, I'm willing to attach my name to the statement.

Anonymous said...

You all invented this and make believe its true:

"As the former President of a GW LGBT group, I'm well aware that not all members of the GW community are educated on LGBT issues, especially transgender related issue."

Elissa said...

I'm sorry....was that supposed to make sense?

Anonymous said...

The same Professor ¨GW Senior¨ seems to worship is responsible for getting local bars to ban Ladies night because apparently they´re overtly sexist and discriminatory. Give me a break.

Neha said...

Second Anonymous,
Yes, you're right. The LGBT community is all just one big conspiracy created to mess with people.

Everything we've lobbied for is not to fight for basic equality,but instead is issues we've made up so we could flex our creative muscles.

Anonymous said...

gay people rule.

Anonymous said...

you have an agenda of being anti god