Marijuana legalization, pornography and hacking are just a few of the topics that moderator Amy Pittman, a senior majoring in English, has selected for Weber State University’s past Taboo Talks. The final panel of the year will be Nov. 21 (Shepherd Union Building, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Room 232, Ogden, 10:30 a.m.) and will be discussing transgender children and when a child should be able to choose his or her gender identity. The event is free and open to the public.
How did you get involved in Taboo Talks?
I was on the diversity board a couple years back, when Taboo Talks was first being started by Lonald Wishom. I really enjoyed attending them, and I sat on the panel for one of them and I really liked it. I sat on the interracial marriage one; my mother is Chinese and my dad’s American.
Why is Taboo Talks an important event?
It’s an informational, educational, non-confrontive discussion about issues that people have problems with or have strong opinions about. Those are the kinds of issues we really need to talk about, but a lot of times you get caught up in “No, you’re wrong”, “No, you’re wrong,” and we’ve had success in the past of this being really educational, informative and intelligent discussion about views on whatever topic we have.
Why did you decide to have a panel about transgender children?
I think it’s important to realize and to talk about the growing community of transgender people—not that they weren’t always there, but I think they weren’t as open about it. I read an article about this [transgender] child in Colorado, Coy Mathis, who was 6 at the time, and she was being discriminated against. She always felt like a girl, she would play with girl toys and wear girl clothes. So, I think one of the most important questions to discuss is, how old do you have to be before you have an idea of who you are? Should she be discriminated against because of how she feels now?
What topics are you hoping come up during the panel?
Like I said, just the question of age: How old does a person have to be to know who they are and who they want to be? I think another one should be how parents should deal with it because I think [Mathis’] parents handled it very well. They stood by her, even though it isn’t considered normal. And they transferred her to another school where she would be able to go into the girls bathroom where she would feel safe and not discriminated against.
Are you looking to change people’s minds about the topic?
I think the best panel discussion comes from both sides. I think there are valid points on each side. I’m hoping people take, at the very least, a basic understanding of what the issue is and just awareness that this is happening and that it is a growing concern. I don’t think Taboo Talks is there to change people’s minds; it’s just to have people from both sides talk to each other and either figure out a middle ground or just talk.