World Cup Debate - Round Robin: Gender neutrality in elementary and preschools
Debate Rounds (4)
With that, I will go ahead and present the policy that upholds the above resolution:
The state of California will institute a policy requiring that all public elementary and pre-schools schools (up to the 5th grade) be required to remain gender neutral in both teaching styles and in their facilities.
Gender neutrality: "[Gender neutrality] describes the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people's sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than the other."
In other words, this policy will require that public schools avoid distinguishing between sex or gender on school grounds. This will manifest in requiring that all bathrooms on school grounds be made unisex, that schools not reenforce gender stereotypes by directing their color choices, toy uses, or behavior in the classroom. These will still be available to students, but at their selection. Any and all role models presented are not depicted as specific to a given gender or sex. Teachers will be told to avoid the use of gender-specific pronouns. Emotionally, boys and girls would be handled the same.
The burden of proof lies on both of us, though as it is I who supports a change from the status quo and the institution of a new policy, it is chiefly my burden to show that a significant and likely advantage exists that substantially outweighs any harms presented by Con, whether based on likelihood, impact or both.
The debate will be 4 rounds, 8,000 characters a round, with 72 hours for us to make our arguments.
The structure of this debate will be as follows:
R1: Acceptance only
R2: Opening arguments
R3: Rebuttal and conclusion (no new arguments)
"'Sex' refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.
'Gender' refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women."
And this is key. Those words, "socially constructed" show how thoroughly gender roles are defined for us by society at large. Rather than being able to decide our gender based upon our own roles, behaviors and activities, we have it defined for us by the restrictions placed on us by our societies. This is true of both men and women, each of whom is taught to embody the masculine and feminine gender categories respectively.
Part of the problem here is that the WHO is actually describing the definition of gender roles rather than gender identity. As Dr. Christine Milrod, a sex therapist, researcher and life coach, explains:
"Gender identity " the feeling of knowing if we are male or female is in the brain, independent of what others say. This is borne out in the thousands of transgendered children worldwide who are reared according to their biological sex and assumed gender identity, but despite any type of environmental cues, socialization, culture, etc. emphatically state that they are the opposite gender. Gender role, on the other hand, is largely a cultural construct, with biological input. So children form an opinion of gender roles based on the culture and society around them, whereas gender identity will be experienced internally without being affected by any external cues."
This applies on a large number of levels. Teachers are effectively altering a number of behaviors of boys and girls based solely on how we treat them. This has been shown to alter language skills, and outgoing and emotional behaviors.
In a society that is supposed to value freedom and equality, we are doing our children a disservice by placing them in a system that pressures them to adhere to societal norms that are viewed as most acceptable rather than allowing them to define their identity themselves. It is one thing to provide a learning experience, it is quite another to imprint the stereotypes we've lived with in the children of this generation.
And yet we do this every day. We act on our biases unconsciously in many ways, and they affect much of our lives, whether we're talking about hiring practices and incomes, performance in educational pursuits. physicality, social behavior. This behavior forces expectations on each sex, ignoring gender identity and discriminating unfairly. This leads to parents subconsciously making it more difficult for girls to become physically active, more difficult for boys to become less social. Teachers influence a child's toy preference, math performance, verbal ability, willingness to engage in risk-taking, physical aggression, and emotional expression. This is because teachers' expectations shape student outcomes. This is known as the Pygmalion Effect, and has been corroborated in multiple studies. Young girls are especially vulnerable to the effects on their ability to learn math. The stereotype that girls can't do math as well as boys "is acquired early and influences emerging math self-concepts prior to ages at which there are actual differences in math achievement." The actual psychological differences between boys and girls are not held up in the data.
Who is affected by this? Any student would be, since they will be subject to biases that seek to define their gender identities for them. For some, the identity they're given is the one they would choose in any case, but the mere act of letting them find that out for themselves can be hugely beneficial. For others, they will be able to discover their gender identities in their own time without external direction, at least in the school setting, where much of their time is spent in their formative years. Nearly every student has their learning directed by their gender stereotypes. This leads to substantial differences in the path each sex takes through life. Especially when we look at science and math-related careers, early life education and the influences of authority figures play a large role in how men and women regard the fields. Current practices effectively exclude more members of the male or female sex from certain jobs, and even affect pay structures. It's institutionalized discrimination, and should in no way be accepted.
But there are students who are more deeply affected. We could look to the genderless population, which is composed of children who have incomplete biological characteristics that normally define girls and boys. These children are forced, in order to avoid condescension and derision, to choose a false identity in order to fit in. We could look to those with gender identity disorder (GID), who are at odds with the sex they were assigned at birth and its associated gender roles. Anyone identifying as genderqueer, which encompasses a wide variety of gender identities, similarly has identity issues in the current system. These people are under pressure to conform in status quo, and the psychological trauma suffered from living their lives lying to others and often themselves doesn't disappear after childhood. As a result of this system, many remain closeted about their gender identity, partially because of the guilt and shame experienced during early childhood as a result of gender stereotypes. Children are pushed to hide their gender-based behaviors, which actually diminish as they age as a result. That pressure is removed in a gender neutral system, and the psychological issues are thus ameliorated.
With that, I'll leave it to Con to establish his case.
18. Burke, P. (1996). Gender shock: Exploding the myths of male and female. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday. Vol.1, Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, pp. 163-174.
19. Bornstein, K. (1994). Gender outlaw: On men, women, and the rest of us. New York and London: Routledge.
20. Docter, R. (1988). Transvestites and Transsexuals: Towards a Theory of Gender Behavior. New York: Plenum Press.
(Hopefully all those links work. If not, I'll find and repost them in the comments.)
I'd like to thank my opponent for starting this debate. I hope that this is an enjoyable debate for both sides!
On the surface, gender neutrality in schools might sound like a great idea. After all, who doesn't like equality and fairness? I'm sure that most of us try to treat people equally and would love to see a world where everyone is judged by their actions, not by who they are. However, I believe this policy would be detrimental to public school students, and will demonstrate why in this debate.
To begin, one of the biggest problems with this proposed policy is that, while men and women are equal, they are not exactly the same. The brains of males and females are wired differently, so to speak. To give some examples of this, a study of 1,000 adolescents found "that male brains had more connections within hemispheres, whereas female brains were more connected between hemispheres. The results, which apply to the population as a whole, suggest that male brains may be optimized for motor skills, and female brains may be optimized for combining analytical and intuitive thinking". Other studies have found differences in men and women, ranging from women having better memory and cognition skills to men having better motor and spatial skills, and that men are better at some tasks than women, and women are better at some tasks than men. While advocates of gender neutrality might argue that these differences are due entirely to social norms, this is simply not the case. These differences are simply part of the brain: the brain connections between sexes vary in such a way that it is clear that men and women, as a whole, just aren't exactly the same. To pretend like this science doesn't exist just to pursue a political agenda of gender neutrality just doesn't make sense.
Aside from the science, however, a major issue with the proposed policy is that children desire to belong - they want to be approved by their peer group. Some people with first-hand experience in applying gender neutrality to their children's lives have found this out. One woman, Candy, raised her son Henry gender-neutral for the first five years of his life. Over this time, he preferred female toys over male toys. It just so happens his 'peer group' at the time was his two older sisters, which most likely explains why he didn't get angry when he had to adjust to male clothes and the like. Another couple who raised their son Sasha as female for the first five years of his life, under the pretenses of gender neutrality, actually refused to actually follow gender-neutrality by not letting him wear masculine shirts or play with Barbie dolls. In fact, they insisted on dressing him in pink with flowery shirts and having ruffles on his school uniform. This is a major problem with gender neutrality - for many, this isn't designed to truly let their kids choose what they want, but instead to force them away from being traditionally male or female, as if it is wrong for kids to act like the vast majority of their gender does. The goal isn't to truly liberate people, but instead to redefine gender for everyone.
As children develop, they seek belonging. Adolescents seek out friends who are similar to themselves - those who share similar hobbies, academic traits, and moral/political views. More importantly, adolescents seek to develop an identity. By pretending like gender and gender differences don't exist in the one place where they will develop most of their friendships, school, these developing persons are robbed of their identity. Gender-neutrality advocates might insist they are liberating people to be free to choose themselves, but by robbing children of perhaps the most defining individual - gender - they are restricting them. To frame this in a more left-minded perspective, how is a transsexual individual supposed to know he or she is transgendered, without having a gender to realize they don't conform to? Gender norms don't oppress, but instead liberate people to recognize who they are. They act as a measuring stick, one that individuals can use to distinguish themselves from others in their gender. Girlhood is not singular or generic (there are girly-girls, tomboys, and everything in between) and manhood is not singular or generic (there are jocks, nerds, and everything in between). There is room on both sides and everywhere in between, and this helps people coalesce around and become friends with those they are similar to. Forced gender neutrality robs them of this ability to recognize and compare themselves to others. By pretending everyone is exactly the same, we act like nobody is different. Elise Claeson, a former equality expert with the Swedish Confederation of Professions, agrees - she notes that children discover their gender very early, and that "To then go in saying that you should be a neuter, a "hen", is no good. It makes kids confused". She notes that "[gender] does not limit children; it makes them confident about their identity…. Children ought to be allowed to mature slowly and naturally. As adults we can choose to expand and change our gender identities".
If you still aren't convinced that gender neutrality isn't all it is cracked up to be, I present to you the case of David Reimer. Reimer was born male, but lost his genitalia when he was 7 months old after a botched circumcision. On advice from psychologist John Money, who believed gender roles were taught and could be changed based on how you rear your child, the family opted to raise him as a girl. However, despite being force-fed female hormones and female habits, he simply did not identify as female and became suicidally depressed. He forced the issue with his parents, and eventually transitioned back to being male. Despite marrying a woman and having a family, however, David still dealt with the issues of his childhood and committed suicide at the age of 38. I'm not suggesting that gender neutrality would lead to millions of David Reimers. However, it is very clear that gender roles are, for the most part, not learned, and to mess with nature can lead to terrible consequences.
This leads to the crux of the issue: gender identity is an adult issue, not something any preschooler is going to get. Men and women face different issues, and pretending gender doesn't exist until sixth grade (or whatever arbitrary grade is chosen) only delays development and recognition of it. Is it really appropriate to have unisex bathrooms just as adolescents are entering puberty? Is it truly appropriate not to teach children about strong male and female role models, or those women who fought so successfully for the right to vote or own property? And, more importantly, if gender-neutrality is so great, why draw an arbitrary line in the fifth grade, and if gender-neutrality is so liberating, why do we need to ever have children thrust back into the unfree confines of gender roles?
I look forward to the next round, where I will rebut my opponent's case.
He starts by telling us that males and females are inherently mentally different. I've got 2 responses:
1. This is a non sequitor. It doesn't matter if the brains of the separate sexes are hardwired for certain kinds of thinking. The reality that they are affected by teaching practices and cultural background as a whole is enough to show that they are being influenced. So long as they are influenced, there is a basis for reducing that influence, no matter whether inherent aspects exist or not.
2. My case solves better for this than status quo. Nowhere in my case do I say that different teaching methods can't be used depending on how receptive each individual is to a given style. Thus, different styles can be employed for those students who have different mental learning capabilities. Con is ignoring the reality that biological characteristics don't always match the person's sex, which can affect brain development.[25, 26] Someone who is genderless can also receive slanted teaching that doesn't fit their hardwiring. Right now, teachers are encouraged to homogenize sexes and ignore genders, which effectively damages these students' learning. Only in a gender neutral environment is this issue fully addressed.
Con then talks about the desire to belong. There are several fundamental misunderstandings here. For one, just because the desire to belong exists doesn't mean that it has to be applied through gender. The assumption that shared sex equates to shared gender identity is problematic " it forces kids to adhere to gender norms rather than their gender identities. I've already explained the mental harms that come from this. It's better that any other sense of belonging is established than this, and since this can occur through literally any other trait (Con lists several in the next paragraph), it's entirely reasonable that it could be established in any case. For another, Con's link doesn't apply. It involves how a child is raised from birth, and specifically whether they're allowed to have a gender identity at all. These cases established a non-identity rather than allowing the children involved to establish their own. Neither of them apply to my case. Whatever the reason, kids will be able to choose the toys they play with, from barbie dolls to monster trucks. Their clothing won't be decided by the school, so that's non-issue. They will have a wide pallet of colors available to them, rather than being directed to blue or pink. So much as Con asserts that "this isn't designed to truly let their kids choose what they want," that is exactly what this system does.
He continues this line of reasoning into his next paragraph, talking about how adolescents (who aren't affected by this policy " hence the concern about them having unisex bathrooms as they enter puberty is irrelevant as well) are going to be harmed. This, again, ignores the fact that a gender neutral system such as that which I have proposed is meant to allow each student to develop a personal gender identity. They aren't robbed of it " they're allowed to pursue it in an unbiased environment. Con tries to support this with the following statement: "how is a transsexual individual supposed to know he or she is transgendered, without having a gender to realize they don't conform to?" This is the crux of the problem. Con wants to keep the gender binary when gender is a spectrum. A binary doesn't liberate " it pressures kids to conform to one of two options and dismisses the others as irrelevant. Providing only two options is absurdly over-limiting. He is also assuming that kids need to be shown what a gender identity is in order to have one, when the reality is that it is independent of outside influence.
Con also says that girlhood and manhood are not singular or generic. This ignores the point of gender neutrality. The gender spectrum isn't between girly-girls and tomboys, jocks and nerds. These aren't gender identities. Gender identities are male, female, androgyne, bigender, boi, cisgender, cross-dresser, genderqueer, pangender, transgender, transexual, womyn, and everything under third gender. Every school without gender neutral bathrooms is not accepting them. Every school that pushes boys to play with blocks, monster trucks, and use the color blue is not accepting them. Every school that tries to force gender norms of male and female on them is not accepting them.
He argues that the ability to "recognize and compare themselves to others" is lost. Since when does a system that allows students to establish their own gender identity remove the capacity to recognize oneself and compare? And why should they have to compare in the first place? Con uses Elise Claeson to bolster his argument, quoting her as saying that neutral pronouns confuse children. Several responses.
1. She is responding to the Swedish system specifically, which requires the use of terms like "hen" as non-gender specific pronouns. That doesn't mean that all possible non-gender specific pronouns are confusing. Use of the terms "they," "them," "you," and "friends" aren't confusing, and neither is directly employing a student's name.
2. She doesn't do enough to explain why this is damaging. She says it's important for a gender to be confirmed, but then says that "Children out to be allowed to mature slowly and naturally." The current system doesn't allow anything of the sort, forcing kids into the gender binary.
3. I don't think it's any more confusing than telling a child to adhere to a gender role when it doesn't fit their gender identity.
Con then moves to the case of David Reimer. This is probably one of the best reasons to support my case. He talks about how the parents of this child decided to stick with the gender binary, force-feeding the child female hormones and female habits. This was not just forcing a gender identity on the child, but forcing a sexual transition. The mental issues created by these acts pushed him to commit suicide, which just goes to show how dramatic the mental harms can be from being forced into this system rather than being allowed to choose one's own gender independent of one's genitalia. This isn't a case against gender neutrality, it's a case against the current system that forces kids into the male or female camps.
Con argues that gender identity is an adult issue. I'd say most of my sources support the reality that gender identities can be established early and affect them later in life.[18-22] The Reimer case makes this all the more stark by showing how terrifying of an effect a forced gender identity can have.
Lastly, Con asks some questions. I'll number my responses.
1) As I said earlier, unisex bathrooms for adolescents isn't a part of my plan. So this doesn't factor into it.
2) It is appropriate. Gender identity shouldn't be established by presenting kids with a binary example of what gender roles exist in society today. However, just because we're not presenting them with gendered role models doesn't mean that students can't understand the importance of everyone having the right to vote or own property. That's just absurd.
3) I drew the line at elementary schools to simplify and focus my case. I would say it would be beneficial past the fifth grade as well, but arguing every grade level seemed excessive. Since Con has decided not to take expansion of gender neutrality into later grades as his counterplan, it really makes no difference whether or not it's a part of my case.
With that, I leave it to Con to rebut my case.
I'd like to thank my opponent for an excellent rebuttal round. Due to character limitations I will be only be refuting his opening arguments.
To begin, my opponent defines 'sex' and 'gender. I do not object to these definitions, but I believe he is conflating them. He is proposing to eliminate gender and sex distinctions in school - to pretend like they don't exist until fifth grade. However, his arguments almost entirely focus on gender identity, not sex. In other words, he's explained why he views default gender as wrong, but never explained why sex distinction is wrong, and why we should pretend it doesn't exist. To quote my opponent verbatim:
"this policy will require that public schools avoid distinguishing between sex or gender on school grounds. This will manifest in requiring that all bathrooms on school grounds be made unisex, that schools not reinforce gender stereotypes by directing their color choices, toy uses, or behavior in the classroom. These will still be available to students, but at their selection. Any and all role models presented are not depicted as specific to a given gender or sex. Teachers will be told to avoid the use of gender-specific pronouns. Emotionally, boys and girls would be handled the same."
Even if we take his word that gender distinction is wrong, he has not given valid reasons for sex distinction, and it is made very clear that his policy applies to both gender and sex, and because the two are different, they don't have the same reasons to be banned. In fact, there are a number of legitimate reasons to recognize sex in schools. Amnesty International, hardly a heteroconformative rag, supports segregated bathrooms as a measure to keep girls safe. My opponent argues sex-segregated bathrooms are wrong because some transsexuals might be uncomfortable in them. Well, what about the many people that are uncomfortable with unisex bathrooms - why does their voice not matter? The solution here is not to force all bathrooms to be unisex, but to instead require each to school to have a certain number of unisex bathrooms. This would address the concerns of everyone without causing anyone to be uncomfortable.
Similarly, his policy would require historical figures be addressed as if they have no sex or gender. This measure is absurd, as it would mean that teachers would have to revise history. For example, teachers would have to teach that Susan B. Anthony was a key person (not a woman) in securing rights for 50% of the population (who they cannot even define in school or explain why their rights were denied). How would you be able to explain why women had no rights if you can't define women or men, or explain the historical bias towards men? The entire women's rights movement would be effectively whitewashed to remove anything to relating to who they were made of (mostly women), who they sought rights for (women), and why they sought rights for them (because denying rights to 50% of the population solely due to gender is wrong). That would be like talking about Martin Luther King Jr but never mentioning he was black or that it was black people who were oppressed! My opponent's policy would clearly weaken the education system and restrict the ability of teachers to teach (in fact, teachers wouldn't even be able to refer to students with personal pronouns, even if the student wants them to), which is something America simply cannot afford at this point. We need to liberate our teachers to talk about the tough issues, not have them pretend like they don't exist.
My opponent asserts teachers are altering the behavior of students by treating them with basic gender roles. However, his source (citation three) to support this claim does not actually support it - the only person supporting this claim in the source is the director of a gender-neutral Swedish preschool, hardly an unbiased source on the topic. In comparison, I have established through unbiased research studies that males and females are wired differently in the brain and, in general, are better at different things. I'll leave it up to the voters to decide which is better.
Next, my opponent asserts that recognizing gender and sex in school restricts freedom, as it "preassures them to adhere to societal norms that are viewed as most acceptable rather than allowing them to define their identity themselves". Even if we take his word for it here, his suggested policy would restrict the rights of students to define themselves even more. How is this the case? By removing any and all references to sex or gender, and requiring teachers to ignore sex and gender, the vast majority of students who identify with their birth sex and its according gender role would be unable to define themselves in school. Teachers would be unable to call them by their chosen name, they wouldn't be able to learn specifically about role models of their sex or gender. Simply put, students wouldn't learn about sex or gender and how it applies to them - they'd simply be forced into it all of a sudden in sixth grade, and unprepared for it to boot.
Next, my opponent argues gender roles restrict education, and that, in particular, stereotypes relating to females and math restrict the ability of girls to learn math. However, girls outperform boys in every subject, including math, at every stage of development - including elementary school. This is attributed to differences in study patterns between boys and girls, with girls tending to focus on mastering material, while boys tend to focus on acing tests. These differences have been observed in more than 30 countries, each of which presumably has its own culture, meaning they likely are caused from natural differences than learned differences. This utterly destroys my opponent's point here, as the fact of the matter is females are not disadvantaged under the current system. In fact, by requiring teachers to ignore gender and sex, teachers would be unable to teach male or female students in a way that can allow them to maximize their potential.
My opponent then argues that gender differences must be removed from school, as it prevents students from establishing their own identity and restricts them in later life. I've already refuted the school argument, but in regards to identity and career, women outnumber men in almost all courses in college, including law and medicine, and more women attend college than men. This runs contrary to the supposed cultural norm of women being homemakers and men being workers, thus we can say that current policies don't seem to enforce that idea.
Finally, my opponent argues the current system disadvantages some minority groups. He lists genderless people, but his source is an article about parents who raise their kids as genderless, not genderless people. He notes people with GID are at a disadvantage as they identify with the opposite of their birth gender, but these people are already accommodated in schools. He notes that genderqueer people are at a disadvantage, but I'd like to find an example of a preschooler who even knows what that means, let alone identifies as it. These are all issues that come up in later adolescence, not preschool, and my opponent's policy doesn't apply to the former.
With that, I hand the ball back to Pro.
Again, thank you to Con for his arguments in this debate. It's been a pleasure being able to discuss this issue in such detail. I'll rebut and conclude.
Con begins this round by saying I'm conflating gender and sex in my policy. This is not the case. The problem is that people use sex distinctions to justify placing someone as a default gender. The practice of assigning an identity even if it's meant to be just a physical identity is also, in part, an attempt to establish gender identity. I actually did establish a harm in making a sexual binary as well (genderless and genderqueer are not necessarily either male or female physically), but there is something wrong with using that binary as a basis for gender identity, which is the main problem.
He tries to justify why this distinction should exist, saying that segregated bathrooms keep girls safe. This might be true for later ages, but I'd like to see evidence that girls in elementary school are victimized by having unisex bathrooms. The Amnesty International link doesn't establish this. However, the point generally doesn't make sense. Bathrooms have stalls, which effectively separate individuals, providing appropriate privacy and effective safety. I have a hard time understanding how either is lost in a unisex bathroom. Anyone who wants to victimize children doesn't care much about boundaries, and they won't be deterred by the door saying “girls” or “boys.”
Con argues that we can just force schools to have a certain number of unisex bathrooms. Couple of issues here. First, this isn't his advocacy, as it's coming out in R3. It's another possible option, but it doesn't play a role in this debate. Second, it's ineffective. Students who go to these restrooms will be viewed as different or weird. Many students will still feel uncomfortable going for this reason, and therefore feel pressured to conform.
Con says that historical figures would have to be addressed differently, and he's partially right, though he overstates the effect. To use his example, I could say “Susan B. Anthony was an influential person who secured rights for women in the U.S.” The words “male” and “female” aren't taboo, and I see no whitewashing. I can even establish that Anthony was of the female sex (I wouldn't want to assume her gender). This is yet another example of Con misunderstanding my case; teachers aren't allowed to present role models as models for a specific sex or gender, but they can still present them as what they are. But this is all besides the point: all people should identify with Susan B. Anthony for seeking voting rights for an oppressed portion of the population. Why is it so bad thing to depict Anthony as a role model to everyone rather than just one for women? He assumes that this would weaken the system, but never states how a system that empowers more broadly is inherently worse, nor does he explain why a gender role model is beneficial when these role models pressure them to hide their gender identity in order to conform to the standard they set.
He mentions “liberating” teachers, but never says why teachers should be allowed to continue to inculcate their students with biased viewpoints. Teachers aren't free to discuss discriminatory views on race or religion, they most certainly shouldn't be allowed to do so with gender.
Con says that he's got the better sources on altered behavior through establishing gender roles. He only looks at one of my citations for this. Voters can feel free to peruse my links (5-14, 18-22), which address the issue of how established gender roles affect behavior, often with primary evidence. Con's  just says that some aspects of thinking are inherent to physiology, and is still both a non sequitor and solved for better in my case, as I explained last round.
Con then claims that students won't be able to identify themselves as a certain gender or sex. Nowhere in my policy is a requirement placed on students. They can self identify all they want. Teachers simply won't treat them differently as a result of that identity. Teachers can continue to call their students by their actual names. He also says that this leaves them unprepared for 6th grade, but I would say that the gender security this would afford them ensures that they will be better prepared.
Con then says that girls outperform boys academically, providing three links to support that. Grant him this point, and then look back at my sources that establish the reason behind it (5, 8-12). His basis why this happens entirely assertion (Con's physiological arguments certainly don't explain it), whereas I've provided evidence. The fact that women are doing better than men today in a wide variety of subjects shows, in part, how both men and women have been subconsciously affected by the usual teaching styles. Depending on who those teaching styles favor, math scores might be male-dominated or female-dominated, and perhaps more recently the bias has shifted towards women due to this same gender skew. The only reason he provides for why gender bias isn't to blame is that it's happening in 30 different countries, but every single one of those countries has the same problems with gender binaries. They may not be teaching the same way, but they're all subconsciously pressuring their students to learn differently, and thus have similar outcomes.
He says that ignoring gender and sex will just prevent them from maximizing their potential, but this is a baseless assertion.
Lastly, Con's responses on minority groups are overly dismissive, as these are the largest impacts to my case. Genderless people do exist – they're called neutrois. I gave an example. He doesn't address the fact that they're often forced into a gender role. His own example of Reimer was someone who was forced into a gender role physically and mentally, which led to suicide. He says that GID is accommodated in schools, which doesn't address my point. Whether accommodations exist or not doesn't change the fact that they feel like irregular outsiders in a system that promotes a gender binary. His response to genderqueer is just that these ideas don't exist in preschool. First off, they do. I've provided several examples (including the link he dismissed on genderless) of people who fit into these categories, and several of his examples from R2 fit too. Second, the fact that they might not know these words doesn't mean they can't identify with them. It's not up to my opponent to decide when kids start to establish their gender identity, and the data I've presented shows that it starts early and the effects last a lifetime.
Throughout this debate, Con has tried to present benefits of the current system and concerns involved in a gender neutral one. I have yet to see any evidence that the establishment of gender roles is responsible for any benefit to students. Many of the points he's made against my case have been mischaracterizations. Even when they are applicable, he hasn't shown any substantial or even likely harm. Changes in teaching styles aren't inherently bad, especially if those changes lead to a less biased system. Con has conceded that the current system elevates one gender over another in numerous areas of study, and that strategies that force kids to take a side in the gender binary are deeply mentally scarred.
Con has presented nothing but outcomes and assumed the reasons behind them. At best, this means he's presented uncertain harms with unknown impacts, at worst, each of these just supercharge my case by showcasing just how bad the current system is. He's banking on harms to students, but even if voters are buying all of his points here, the tremendous long term psychological impacts that I've elucidated are far more potent. He even provided me with the strongest possible support – an instance of suicide. Uncertain effects on education efficacy are never going to outweigh known deaths and trauma.
To start, my opponent argues my claims relating to differences between the male and female brain are wrong, as development is still influenced by teaching, and that his side would more effectively deal with people who are outside the typical gender spectrum. I respectfully disagree. In citation 24, which my opponent uses to argue that teaching practices and cultural background affect development, there is no mention of the effect of teaching - rather, the source argues that development is shaped in the context of experiences within the culture the person is in. Given that I have already established through my 4th and 5th citations in round 3 that test results are remarkably consistent among different cultures, it can be safely said that the impact of teachers isn't nearly as big a deal as my opponent makes it out to be.
My opponent seems to agree teachers should teach students differently based on how they learn. Per my opponent's own source (source 6), some teachers argue that, in general, they need to teach students of different genders differently because in their experience they learn differently. This is backed up by my source 5 in R3, it is noted that boys and girls, in general have different learning styles. Ergo, teachers should have the ability to teach broadly based on sex, and specifically on an individual level. Teachers deserve the ability to teach students to their full potential, not be constricted and to disregard useful techniques.
As a side note, in all three rounds where he uses it my opponent's arguments related to genderless people should be completely disregarded. His source (15) for this topic says nothing about people who are actually born genderless, but instead people have been raised by their parents as genderless. Clearly, the two are not the same.
My opponent tries to refute my arguments related to the desire of the child to belong, but I think he misunderstands my argument here. I am arguing that, by restricting the ability of teachers and schools to define people by either biological sex or gender, those students will have less of an ability to define themselves, because the school would not recognize them in that regard. In other words, students may well be able to choose what toys to play with or what gender they associate with, but will the school recognize or notice their choice? No.
My opponent attempts to refute my arguments related to adolescents by arguing they won't be affected. This is not the case - in general, puberty begins around 10-11 in girls and 11-12 in boys. Most fifth graders are 10-11 years old, so at the very most girls would be affected. My opponent completely disregards students who have had to repeat a grade, who make up a fairly large population in some areas, such as Texas, where 1 in 10 fifth graders have to repeat their grade. Even if we assume the California numbers are lower, it is still far more than many of the obscure gender identities my opponent has brought up, like 'boi' and 'womyn' - especially among schoolchildren, 99% of which have no clue what those are. My opponent once again coalesces sex and gender identity by arguing that, for example, sex-segregated bathrooms are discriminatory to people with unorthodox gender identities. However, sex segregated bathrooms are based on biological sex - not gender identity. Ergo, they aren't discriminating against anyone. My opponent also claims schools that recognize sex/gender roles prevent people from pursuing a gender identity. However, according to his second source, gender identity is innate, not pursued or developed.
My opponent attempts to refute my issues with banning use of personal pronouns by teachers by arguing there are other words they can use, such as the word 'they'. However, the word 'they' is considered improper in formal English. Why should English teachers be required to teach improper English?
My opponent argues the case of David Reimer is an example of why gender neutrality is needed. I disagree. His was long used as an example of how gender neutrality is great and gender roles are learned, until everyone found out Reimer wasn't happy and it didn't work. My point here was that it is wrong to force someone to deny their own sex, and that gender roles aren't really learned. Gender-neutral schools would require teachers and schools pretend that gender or sex don't exist, which would indeed harm these students who are developing.
My opponent tries to downplay the concern with bathrooms, and argues I should give examples of elementary schoolgirls being victimized in the bathroom. Well, let's think about this for a second. Older males would be using the same bathrooms as young girls. Boys and girls on the edge of (or during) puberty would be sharing bathrooms. Cameras are widely available, easily used, and easily concealed. Anyone else see the potential problems here?
Next, my opponent takes issue with me arguing unisex bathrooms can be installed without removing sex-segregated ones. I don't believe that does, because it isn't a new argument - it just a refutation of my opponent's claim that removing sex-segregated bathrooms and replacing them with unisex ones is the only way to not discriminate against unorthodox gender identities. He also argues people who use the bathrooms might be regarded as weird. So? Many kids think people who like chemistry are weird. Should we ban chemistry? Many kids think athletes are weird. Should we ban sports? The fact of matter is opinion doesn't matter here. People would be made uncomfortable or even harmed by unisex bathrooms and that makes one of the key pillars of his case refuted.
My opponent also argues history won't be whitewashed because teachers will be able to present historical figures as belonging to a certain sex or gender. What? If the point of gender neutrality to ensure schools have no sign of gender or sex, how on earth are teachers allowed to talk about sex or gender? And as to teachers, this would undoubtedly restrict them. Have you ever tried to write a full paper on women's history without using third-person personal pronouns? No? Now try making an entire curriculum without using them, and then have to speak about it. Also, he argues students can self-identify as whatever they want. He neglects the crux of my point, that their identification won't be recognized by their superiors (teachers and school officials).
He also argues the fact girls outperform boys in school and outnumber them in college across 30 different countries is proof of gender discrimination. This is nonsense - the supposed cultural norm is that men work, girls stay at home. If there is indeed discrimination in school, it would be proven by showing girls do worse in school and attend college in far lesser numbers than men, especially in cultures that reinforce that view.
His final points are a bit odd. Sources from both of us have established gender identity if innate, not influenced by others, so his concerns here are null, plus I've already proven his source does not support his claims regarding genderless people. I still maintain no five-year old has any idea what 'genderqueer' means.
To conclude: I've established gender-neutral schools would do more harm than good, and thus should not be implemented. My opponent has tried to address these concerns, but hasn't been able to debunk any of them. Gender-neutral schools would restrict both students and teachers, and lead to few, if any, real benefits. As such the resolution is refuted, and I strongly urge a vote for Con.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by kbub 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: In round 1, Con claimed that Pro was against science, but looking at the sources that seems incorrect. Also, Con claims that children choose where they belong, but that is what Pro's plan allows for and advocates. Pro effectively turns Reimer. Con does an interesting thing next round in shifting to sex and safety, as well as problems addressing strong female historical leaders. However, Con drops safety in the last round, seeming to be unable to show safety risks early on. Females performing better than males early on actually bites Con's case, since they do poorly later, presumably because of gender influence. Con drops the benefit to all persons who do not fit the gender binary. Con claims that females aren't discriminated against, but Con shows several ways in which they are that Con dropped. Even if they weren't, then there'd be no harm done. Colleges are new arguments. Pro points out that historical figures can be presented as Con. Con says that hurts neutrality; why does Con care
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comment section
Vote Placed by Mhykiel 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: In round 2 Pro supports the resolution that both gender and sex should be avoided."who are at odds with the sex they were assigned at birth and its associated gender roles" But in later rounds Pro confirms calling a role model Female. I was ultimately unconvinced to support this particular system that Pro is advocating. Con made a more convincing argument that recognizing male and female differences is appropriate in respectively teaching either. Also that recognizing this difference does not have to mean enforcing gender roles or only play with this toy or that. They showed examples of cases that were said to be Gender Neutral but were in fact the forcing the reverse traditional roles onto a child. Pro addresses this as the students will be able to self identify. Very interesting debate. I will certainly be reviewing this time and time again. But I must vote Con on establishing the health benefit of recognizing sex. I wish this debate was not all or nothing voting.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
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