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Feminism is not just about equality for men and women

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When browsing the New York Time’s “feminist” news section — which redirects to its “Women’s Rights” page — it is very clear that the movement’s focus has been on leveling the playing field between men and women. Genderqueer individuals — who identify as both, neither, or a combination of male and female — are often left out of these discussions, marginalizing a key group in a movement aiming for gender equality.

The Transfeminism movement links feminist goals with those of transgender women and other genderqueer individuals, according to activist Emi Koyama. The movement calls on transgender individuals to participate more in feminist movements to reach their own liberation.

Transgender and genderqueer individuals should not have to create their own movement in order to be recognized in a campaign that aims for equal opportunities regardless of one’s gender. The consideration of feminist ideals should automatically link female, male, and genderqueer rights — and give everyone equal opportunities.

Individuals who identify themselves outside of the normal “he-she” split can feel marginalized in many aspects of their lives, Michal Jones wrote in an article for Everyday Feminist magazine, a site that receives over 4.5 million monthly visitors from over 150 countries. It is essential to challenge these limited binary, or strictly male and female views on gender and sexuality that dominate mainstream culture, according to Jones.

This general lack of acknowledgment has not deterred some genderqueer feminists. Feminism is about possibility, according to fellow Everyday Feminist writer Sam Finch, who identifies as a transgender individual. It’s about creating an environment where people can reach their full potential without encountering marginalization.

“Every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can… come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree,” Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1995 papal encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” “In a special way, believers in Christ must defend and promote this right…”

The overall message of the Old Testament is its appeal for the respect of the inviolability and integrity of the person, according to the encyclical, which goes on to describe the idea of loving one’s enemy. In accordance with this principle, one can respect genderqueer individuals even if she does not agree with their choices.

Political, social and economic equality should not come with gender requirements. Whether an individual identifies as male, female, genderqueer or something else entirely is not a reasonable justification for treating that person as anything less than a human being. Society needs to accept that the genderqueer and transgender communities exits, and consider these groups when talking about concepts like feminism.

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Feminism is not just about equality for men and women