Navigating tension respectfully
The United States presidential election, the United Kingdom’s Brexit and far-right and left movements across the globe show that extremism in any form should be rejected.
Instead of finding middle ground, too often people demand that everything they want be accepted without any consideration for others.
Professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson recently ignited controversy at the University of Toronto when he refused to refer to transgendered people with genderless pronouns.
“This situation is nothing new,” said Eva Janke-Furman, a gender non-binary student at ACAD.
A poll conducted in August 2016 by the Angus Reid Institute, a not-for-profit public research organization, showed that 76 per cent of Canadians agree with Peterson that being politically correct has gone too far.
If people are afraid to speak their mind, how will conversation ever take place between individuals in order to build a middle ground of understanding, or correct inappropriate thoughts and behaviours?
Acceptance and tolerance are two different things.
Acceptance can be defined as agreement with, or belief in an idea, opinion or explanation.
Tolerance can be defined as the ability or willingness to condone something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with.
Everyone has the right to not accept things they do not believe in, but if those people are able to act with tolerance, it can lead to more inclusiveness, happiness and overall a better foundation for the world we all live in.
“Just let trans kids be themselves and respect them. They’re people too,” said Janke-Furman.
While genders may be fluid in some societies, traditionally genders have been binary based on the two sexes: male and female.
Peterson debated the existence of non-binary genders in a CBC interview, saying there isn’t enough evidence to make the case that gender identity and biological sexuality are independently varying constructs.
As the LGBTQ community struggles for recognition, safety and rights, it is important to note that people of “traditional genders” are also struggling and have to adapt to a pace that might not match what the LGBTQ community is hoping for.
Every human being should have equal rights, whether they are part of the majority or minority.
Change is something that takes time, and if tolerance is what society needs to get better at, all communities should work on it.
Societal norms should be challenged, and at times they are demolished and rebuilt to better accommodate everyone as times change.
On the other hand, just because ideas are old, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Tolerance and open-mindedness need to be shown by all parties in our society in order to bring the world forward to a place we can all coexist in.
All communities have the right to reserve their feelings on issues, but to close the dialogue completely is not the way to bring about change.