These gendered halls (pt. 1): Datta feels responsibility to educate others

Seniors+Aaron+Datta+and+Sylvie+Schifsky+work+together+on+an+upcoming+English+presentation+about+using+feminist+and+queer+theory+to+analyze+text.+%E2%80%9CI+can+try+to+teach+others+about+the+gender-queer+experience%2C+but+it+also+means+that+I+have+to+understand+that+all+of+my+actions+re+ect+a+bunch+of+other+people+now%2C%E2%80%9D+Datta+said.

Jenny Sogin

Seniors Aaron Datta and Sylvie Schifsky work together on an upcoming English presentation about using feminist and queer theory to analyze text. “I can try to teach others about the gender-queer experience, but it also means that I have to understand that all of my actions re ect a bunch of other people now,” Datta said.

Being someone who identifies outside of the gender binary provides a different perspective on the inner workings of society.

Senior Aaron Datta identifies as bi-gender, a designation where some individuals express two distinct “female” and “male” personas, feminine and masculine respectively; others find that they identify as two genders simultaneously.

Datta believes that gender isn’t as straightforward as it is commonly perceived.

“Gender is a social construct. We make it so that we can categorize people because humans love to categorize things,” Datta said.

Sports teams are also a product of the gender binary. Historically, sports teams have always been divided by gender, with little room to accommodate those who identify outside of the gender binary. Recently, co-ed sports teams have become more common, but there is still a long way to go in terms of gender inclusivity.

It puts pressure on people to constantly speak out from our perspective”

— Aaron Datta

Datta recalls being scared at the prospect of figuring out how they can participate in sports at St. Paul Academy without compromising their gender identity.

“When I was questioning and trying to figure out my own gender identity, I didn’t know what to do when it came to sports,” Datta said.

“Right now, we have a lot of really brave people who are going out and trying to be able to play the sport as the gender that they identify as, but it’s an uphill battle for all those people. I was pretty intimidated to try and take that on.”

Datta is also affected by the fact that there are so few non-binary students at SPA. Subsequently, the duty of educating people about gender falls on their shoulders.

“It puts a lot of pressure on people [who identify as non-binary] to constantly speak out from our perspective. People see us as being the gender-queer people, which creates a narrative of what gender-queer people are like. So now I am representing a very large group of people because I am one of the few gender-queer people that people at SPA interact with,” Datta said.

This responsibility carries a heavy sense of importance.

“I can try to teach others about the gender-queer experience, but it also means that I have to understand that all of my actions reflect a bunch of other people now,” Datta said.

This story is reprinted from The Rubicon Print edition: Nov 21, 2017