A Fire Chief, Social Media and Gender Identity
Last week Statter911.com reported that Charlotte, North Carolina, deputy fire chief Jeff Dulin was in the hot seat for a posting from his personal Facebook page.
The image appears to show the famed athlete Bruce Jenner on the iconic cereal box as Olympic champion and then again in 2015 with the words “Fruit Loops” behind him.
“Fruit” and “fruit loop” are slang or derogatory terms for homosexuals.
Statter says that, “[the image] makes fun of Bruce Jenner.”
He also suggests that because of a prior incident in Charlotte that a standard of conduct may be in place against material described as, â€œdiscriminatory and inflammatory.â€
Ignorant and Adolescent, at Least
I doubt that Dulin created the image.
Like many a Facebook poster he saw something that titillated his low-amped grey matter and simply re-posted it.
It’s also very doubtful that he bothered to think through either the imagery or the words.
This makes him the exact opposite of “discriminatory.”
In fact, he’s both indiscriminate and lazy.
Oh, and ignorant, too.
Gender Identity and Expression
Most people take their gender identity and the manner in which they express it as an entirely natural given.
They are totally comfortable with their assigned gender and never give it a second thought.
Some, however, experience deep psychological trauma and pain because their inward gender identity may not match their physical characteristics or their assigned roles.
That trauma can define their life and often result in mental anguish, substance abuse, failed relationships, even suicide.
Dulin’s adolescent post-sharing aside, it is a deadly serious matter: research shows that more than 50% of transgender youth will have at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
In Dulin’s apparently very simplified world Bruce Jenner’s possible gender transition makes him queer or fruity.
Gender identity and sexual orientation or attraction are distinctly different.
Dulin’s primary offense is a total lack of critical thinking skills and his apparent knee-jerk reaction in defense of conformist sexuality.
Welcome to the Cracker Barrel
Perhaps Dulin was just “cracking” a joke.
An 18th-century letter to the Earl of Dartmouth defined “cracker”:
“I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by Crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia, who often change their places of abode.”
The lazy “Facebookers” are Â ignorant crackers whose reckless images have the power to kill.
If Jenner is transgender and able to withstand the withering public glare as he struggles to become himself, he has (at least) the courage of all of Charlotte’s fire chiefs, fruity or not.
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