I am a competitive adult male figure skater (do check out my figure skating page on my business website) and in discussions around skating and gender, I posted what I thought was a humorous comment: “There was one rink I went to where for the restrooms they had a drawing of a hockey guy for the men’s room and a drawing of a girl figure skater for the ladies’ room so I asked, “As a male figure skater which of these restrooms am I supposed to use?”
Someone obviously with no sense of humor actually replied, “There are only two genders. Male and female. What type of skates or uniform they have on doesn’t change it. Read your anatomy book if you are still confused.”
Well, this person is not exactly correct.
First, there are a good number of children born with both sets of body parts, they are intersexed. Second, there are an increasing number of people who do not identify as solely male or female, but perhaps as a combination of genders or no gender, called “nonbinary.” I recently published a blog about supporting nonbinary people in the workplace and use of pronouns.
Now on to the larger discussion. Why are so many people intolerant?
• Just because I am not straight like you, does that make me bad or wrong? Does my being gay somehow threaten your being a heterosexual?
• Just because someone identifies as nonbinary instead of male or female like you, does that make them bad or wrong? Is someone else’s being nonbinary somehow threaten you as a man or a woman?
• Just because someone was not born in the US and speaks with an accent, does that mean they are “less American” than you are?
• And what is up with all this hate and violence against Black people, Asian-Americans, Jews, Muslims, etc?
Bottom line – the only thing that I feel it is OK to be intolerant of is intolerance itself.