Gender and sexual identification: Right and wrong?

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Editor’s Note: 

The University News Editorial Board has decided to retract our Feb. 16 editorial entitled “Gender and Sexual Identification: Right and Wrong?” We would like to offer our sincere apologies to anyone who was hurt by the offensive nature of the piece.

The editorial was intended to be an exploration of the ways in which a society’s views on different behaviors and identities can change over time. In our initial discussion of the topic, we talked about how certain ideas that were once viewed as “deviant” or morally wrong have grown to be more accepted over time. We hypothesized about how this process could conceivably continue into the future, with ideas that we in the present might find unacceptable or even abhorrent, and discussed the merits by which society uses to judge these behaviors.

However, it is quite clear that the piece did not accurately convey these ideas. The examples we used to illustrate our points were poorly chosen, and the language and tone of the piece was highly inappropriate. Though the editorial was intended to provide only inquiries, and not any concrete political statements, we recognize that many of the issues we chose to discuss are of an extremely sensitive and personal nature, and that we did not treat these subjects with the tact and due diligence they deserve.

It was never our intention to equate same-sex attraction with pedophilia or bestiality. That is an unfortunate and politically fraught analogy that has been used, both historically and in the present day, to justify discrimination and violence towards members of underrepresented groups. The juxtaposition of these concepts was unintentional, but carelessly executed, and we apologize for even the slightest suggestion of equivalence.

But more importantly, our biggest and most egregious offense is the lack of inclusion of any LGBTQ+ individuals in this discussion. We realize that a group of mostly privileged, white, straight and cisgender college kids are not the best people to lead such a conversation.

We view this editorial, from the initial discussion to the decision to publish it, as extremely regrettable.

Many current and former students have written to us to express their disapproval of our editorial. In particular, a Facebook post by Free to be called us out for our ignorance and demanded we do better. This is a challenge that we have decided to take very seriously. Going forward, we will be looking to collaborate with more knowledgeable SLU organizations on how to best increase minority representation in the newspaper, as well as an increase of coverage about LGBTQ+ events and news. We will strive to be more inclusive and more receptive to your criticism. We assure you, this is not where the story ends.

As student journalists, our purpose was, as it is with everything we publish, to create a dialogue. In our attempt to do so, however, we have overstepped the bounds of rational discourse and strayed into territory in which we had no place to be. Now, in the spirit of creating an open and inclusive dialogue, we respectfully ask that the students of SLU forgive us for the ignorance in our speech, and grant us the opportunity to listen.