I am taking this opportunity to critique an article published in last Friday’s Pipe Dream, “Trans man talks gender fluidity,” written about a visit author Nick Krieger paid to the university. There were a number of problems with the article, and I am sure it would take someone more qualified on the subject to properly edit it. I will mention the three problems that stood out to me.

First, the article was mentioned on the top left of the cover page: there was a picture of Mr. Krieger and the words “Sexual Fluidity: Transexual author Nick Krieger…” The word transsexual is an outdated, controversial term that offends some people. More importantly, Mr. Krieger’s talk had almost nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with gender. The difference between sexuality (gay, straight, pansexual, etc.) and gender identity (transgender, agender, cisgender, etc.) is enormous, yet many people confuse them. I attended Mr. Krieger’s talk, and he himself explained the difference between the two.

The second error appears early in the article itself: “Krieger… was born a woman named Nina.” The sentence should read, “Krieger was designated female at birth.” Every trans person’s experience is different, and since I have not read Mr. Krieger’s book, I do not know whether he considers himself to have been born a woman. But I do know that many trans people consider themselves to have been their claimed gender since birth, and that to assume otherwise is wrong.

Finally, “…anatomically, [Nick] is a woman…” Mr. Krieger explained his gender as a kind of gray area on the spectrum, and I believe I am correct in assuming he does not define himself as a woman. Therefore, his anatomy is not that of a woman. Men can have vaginas and women can have penises; genitals have nothing to do with gender. Again, I have not read Nick’s book and for all I know he may refer to himself as “anatomically a woman,” however I suspect the writer of this article was not conscious of Mr. Krieger’s personal feelings about his body, but was instead writing from a place of ignorance.

Next time, please find someone informed on trans issues to write an article on such a sensitive subject.

– Isaac Ballan is an undeclared sophomore