Dignity for All

SFBayTimes.com – By Jacob Anderson-Minshall

Asian American transgender activist Pauline Park considers the push for gender-neutral pronouns in the U.S. ?profoundly ahistorical.?

?Gender-neutral pronouns are not native to the English language,? she argues. ?And?unlike in Chinese, for example?[they] feel extremely artificial to speakers of English.?

Park says she?s come to understand that the historical roots of transgenderism differ in various cultures. For instance, she contends, ?There was a pre-modern trans identity in virtually every Asian society, and I think it?s important for transgendered Asians to envision themselves in light of their precursors.?

Co-founder of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), the first statewide transgender advocacy organization in New York, Park is best known for spearheading the successful campaign to pass the New York City transgender rights law enacted in 2002. After leading that campaign, she (www.paulinepark.com) helped draft guidelines?adopted by the Commission on Human Rights two years later?for implementation of the statute.