NPR Contributor Bemoans 'Enormous Unease' Toward Chaz Bono
Barbara J. King of the College of William and Mary bizarrely asserted that a "person's sex can be socially constructed" in a Thursday item for NPR.org's "13.7" blog. King used the rare phenomenon of hermaphroditism to justify Chastity Bono's "transformation" to become "Chaz" Bono, and lamented that the "the case of Chaz Bono tells us that enormous unease still exists in our society when individuals celebrate, rather than hide, that transformation."
The biological anthropologist started her piece, "Sex, Gender And Dancing With Chaz Bono," by going so far to refute the standard left-leaning view on sexuality: "A person's sex is unambiguous. As a result of biology, we're born either male or female. A person's gender, by contrast, is a matter of social construction. If we're born female, we may choose to act in ways considered in our society to be masculine — or vice versa. This dichotomy between sex and gender is often asserted as fact, and may seem like common sense. But it's flat wrong. A person's sex can be socially constructed."
King then cited how "intersexuals (once referred to as "hermaphrodites") born in the U.S. during the 1950s provide a striking example...babies born at that time with some mix of male and female sex organs were routinely altered by surgery within a day or two of their birth." She continued by claiming, "The practice of early, urgent, and secret surgical sex assignment in cases of intersexuality is no longer popular among physicians in this country. But sex is still socially constructed when people born male choose as adults to become female, or those born female choose to become male."
After bemoaning the "enormous unease" in the case of Ms. Bono, particularly since she is appearing on the popular "Dancing With the Stars" program, the NPR guest contributor specified that "a diehard fan of the show [Dancing With the Stars], declared that she wouldn't watch it until 'she' (Chaz) was kicked off. Chaz's transformation from Chastity upset her greatly, and she's not alone. The psychiatrist Keith Ablow has warned parents not to allow their children to watch Chaz, for fear that their developing, and thus vulnerable, gender identity might be disrupted." King then added her two cents: "For the record, no evidence exists to suggest that watching a transsexual dance on television causes children any harm."
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The writer ended with a defense of transsexualism: "The primary issue is of course people, not terminology: People like Chaz Bono, who have a right to transcend biology and to become, physically and emotionally, the sex they know themselves to be. And the rest of us too, who react to Chaz Bono's dancing presence. We can transcend an evolved tendency to think in fixed binaries, and arrive together at an acceptance of constructed sex as well as of constructed gender."
Back in June 2011, NPR's Linton Weeks trumpeted several other extreme proponents of eliminating gender differences and hinted at support for this cause: "In a country with the ideal of treating everyone fairly and equitably, do we really need to know if someone is a boy or a girl?" Weeks also claimed that this was just part of the normal progression of society: "As history shows, one enterprise in which Americans excel is the breaking down of divisions."