LEYZEROVYCH: Libertarianism includes right to avoid, embrace preferred personal pronoun use


Column: American Insights

In my last column, I discussed my Libertarian views.

Libertarianism is an extreme social and political laissez-faire ideology that reprehends the government’s intervention in the personal lives of its citizens. Thus, Libertarianism prioritizes all individual causes above communal ones. 

Some famous Libertarians include American economist Milton Friedman, who was a 1932 Rutgers University graduate, Russian writer and philosopher Ayn Rand and Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.

In my last column I gave an overview of my core political beliefs in extremely broad strokes, providing a crash course of my views on abortion, the Second Amendment and LGBTQ+ rights. I decided to add clarity to my argument by focusing on the latter part of my last column, specifically the question behind the theory of gender fluidity. 

Arguably, one of the founders of gender studies apropos the fluidity of gender is Professor Judith Butler, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and has taught at multiple prestigious institutions in the U.S. and Europe. Much of Butler’s work contributed to the argument that sex and gender are fundamentally disparate. Butler contended that sex is reliant on physical characteristics of a person, primarily genitalia, while gender is a social construct and thus succumbs to one’s perception. 

The popularization of Butler’s work has led to a new cultural movement supporting gender fluidity that is completely independent of sex. This view justifies being transgender as well the multiplicity of gender, known as the gender non-binary category, that goes beyond the male and female genders. 

What is alarming to me is the enforcement of this theory upon society through the policing of pronouns. For example, on the University of Toronto campus, as of 2016, faculty were being required to use gender-neutral pronouns as to not offend students who did not identify as either male or female.

Yours truly, along with many others, was highly encouraged to sit through a long presentation during the Rutgers University first-year orientation concerning the appropriate use of pronouns when conversing with others. In recent years, universities have come up with pronouns such as “xe,” “ey,” “zie” and “sie,” and have included them on their applications and in their codes of conduct. 

Personally, I completely reject Butler’s premise. Butler is a theorist at most, and her theory though cloaked in the aura of high, austere academia, cannot in any way be proven. In my opinion, there is no scientific evidence portraying a concrete reality of a separation between sex and gender. I do not believe that which cannot be proven. 

Consequently, sex and gender are mere synonyms, parallels of English nomenclature that have been blown out of proportion to represent complex and separate structures. I thus reject gender as a spectrum, and instead rely on its binary nature proven by differentiation in human biology. When I meet a person, I assess their physical characteristics and make an assumption about their sex and gender. 

Yes, an assumption. An assumption at which many on the Left foam at the mouth, but nonetheless an assumption which billions of humans have used over millennia. Once I make my assumption, I call the person by the appropriate pronouns: he or she. If I cannot identify the person’s sex and gender at all, which happens extremely rarely, I do not use pronouns when referring to the person and instead use his or her name.

I believe that all non-binary genders are people’s figments of perception and imagination, and perception and imagination do not constitute reality. 

Having said all of that, I want to make it clear that I am against legislation banning non-binary self-identification. I am consistent with my Libertarian views, so if you have bought into the teachings of Butler and the conduct pushed by American universities, and now identify as non-binary and want to be called, for example, by the pronoun “xe,” I am happy for you. I am glad you have reached a level of enlightenment and transcendence.

I do not feel I have the right to forcefully make you fit into my gender-binary understanding. If you, for example, have a luscious bushy beard, very hairy arms and a flat chest, I will not call you by the pronoun “xe." I will call you by the pronoun “he.”

This is Libertarian heaven: when the rights of both individuals are dutifully protected, allowing each to choose how they live, and no governing authority to interfere. Because your non-binary identification and my identification of you are both protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

In addition, I completely reject the Leftist fallacy that me identifying you as “he” is inherently dangerous to you. What I believe is dangerous is for universities to abridge the freedom of speech of those who do not choose to buy into the theory of sex and gender as diverging concepts, by forcing them to use invented pronouns.

Yan Leyzerovych is a Rutgers Business School first-year majoring in finance. His column, “American Insights,” runs on alternate Tuesdays.

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