Gender is not a choice

The heartwarming story of the Brisbane parents who posted a classified to announce their trans son’s coming out has been all over social media the past few days.

In the notice, the family says in 1995 they placed an ad to announce the birth of their daughter Elizabeth Anne.

“He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son – Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room,” the notice read.

That’s awesome! What supportive parents. Too bad the media isn’t so supportive. Kai’s decision to share his true gender identity with his family is reported like this (emphasis mine):

… the 19-year-old Australian who has decided to switch genders from female to male.
[…]
Kai said he made the decision to tell his parents Yolanda Bogert and Guy Kershaw about his choice to live as a male last week.

Well, I always understood that gender identity was pretty much innate – though fluid, not a choice at all. So where’d the Brisbane Times get the word “choice” from? Is that how Kai phrased it?

“I was nervous, like how you would be doing a school presentation,” Kai said.

“It was still slightly nerve-racking. I was finally telling people who I am…”

Nope. Kai himself sees his gender as innate, but the newspaper just wasn’t listening to him. (Emphasis mine, again.)

It’s great to see a positive depiction of a trans person in the media. Maybe one day journalists will also be able to use accurate and respectful language in such depictions.

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