- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2016

If a man identifies as a woman, then can a white person identify as Chinese? Or a short person as tall?

That’s what Joseph Backholm, director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, went to the University of Washington to find out.

After Washington state enacted a law forcing business owners to extend bathroom use to those who identify as the opposite gender, Mr. Backholm asked several students at the Seattle campus whether he can similarly identify as a different race, age or height.

“There’s been a lot of talk about identity lately, but how far does it go, and is it possible to be wrong?” Mr. Backholm says in the four-minute video.

Each of the students in the video responded confidently that there’s nothing wrong with Mr. Backholm identifying as a woman. “I don’t have a problem with it,” one student said.

But when Mr. Backholm inquired whether he could identify as a Chinese person, some students were a little more hesitant.

“I would have a lot of questions, just because on the outside I would assume you were a white man,” one student said.

“I mean, I might be a little surprised, but I would say, ‘Good for you. Yeah, be who you are,’” one student said.

And when Mr. Backholm pushed even further — asking whether he could identify as a seven-year-old or someone much taller — some of the students went along with it.

“If you feel seven at heart, then so be it. Yeah, good for you,” one student said.

“I would say so long as you’re not hindering society, and you’re not causing harm to other people, I feel like that should be an OK thing,” another student said.

“I feel like it’s not my place, as another human, to say someone is wrong or draw lines or boundaries,” one student said.

Mr. Backholm wondered what the experiment portends for American society.

“It shouldn’t be hard to tell a five-foot-nine-inch white guy that he’s not a six-foot-five-inch Chinese woman,” he concluded in the video. “But clearly it is. Why? What does that say about our culture? And what does that say about our ability to answer the questions that actually are difficult.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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