A Critique of Dr. Heather Heying’s Claims

Dr. Heather Heying explains how gender stereotypes can lead to the assumption of gender in this video. She makes valid points about the harm of assuming someone’s gender, but I, as a progressive female, disagree with her when she says this is fueled by the normalization of being transgender. Dr. Heying believes that if she was a young female “tomboy” in modern society people would think of her as a man and label her as transgender for enjoying stereotypical masculine things. I disagree with this thought. I think that in today’s increasingly openminded world, the majority of society tries to work towards embracing the masculine things about a woman or the feminine things about a man.

 I feel the growing acceptance of transgender people doesn’t make people assume someone’s transgender just because they present themselves in a way that doesn’t fully align with the stereotype associated with their genitalia. 9 times out of 10, people will assume you’re cisgender unless you tell them otherwise. Society when Dr. Heying was a child (around the 70s-80s… so very closed minded) would be more likely to assume she was a boy than society today. 50 years ago, it wasn’t acceptable for a girl to have physical skills or intelligence. It also wasn’t acceptable for boys to wear makeup or enjoy the arts. I think the majority of my generation (gen z) and millennials (so a good chunk of the population) don’t really care about these expectations. I also feel like a lot of the older generation’s saw the inequalities when they were younger and therefore today support the abolition of the gender expression expectations. 

Dr. Heying’s blame of transgender people comes off as transphobic and a bit ignorant. It seems like she’s reaching for a reason to dislike the transgender acceptance movement with arguments that don’t align with what I see in the world. While I don’t think her intent was to blatantly hate on trangender people, her claims don’t add up.

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