Is Asking for Information Now Considered Discrimination? Yes.
When attempting to buy the ticket as a Christmas gift, Henry was baffled to find that Delta only provides options for male and female on the ticket. Delta has, since this debacle, pledged to begin the process of providing more inclusive selections for the LGBTQ community, but Henry was left unsatisfied with the fact that Delta did not call and apologize to her personally.
While Henry argued that Delta is not falling in line with inclusiveness and also violating the prohibitions listed by the Civil Rights Act, Delta’s actions technically aren’t out of line. The Civil Rights Act ensures that discrimination against race, color, religion, sex, or national origin particularly in the process of hiring, employing and promoting, which has nothing to do with customer clientele.
Dawn Henry also claimed that gender identity “is protected by the Civil Rights Act”, but this is a very basic misunderstanding of the Civil Rights Act’s intent.
Delta’s choice to not present the countless number of gender identities as possible options on their tickets on your ticket is not outright discrimination. Their policy complies with TSA rules, not a homophobic policy their company proposes. A spokesperson for Delta even said they are “long-time supporters of LGBTQ”, implying that the intention of the gender marked on any airline ticket is not meant to discriminate, but to inform.
Gender vs. Sex
There is also a key definition to note in this description, and that is the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against sex. ‘Gender’ by definition of Oxford Languages is “either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.”
This is a big one, because gender and sex are often leveled onto the same playing field. In linguistics, I have studied the meaning of gender in a few different classes because your gender is often influenced by your speech, and vice versa. Sex cannot be influenced; you either have two X chromosomes or one X and one Y chromosome. Your gender however is coded by your actions, your speech, how you dress and how you carry yourself. This is why when asked for my pronouns, I ask the person to call me what they see in front of them; my gender is what you perceive it to be, to me, but my sex is unchangeable.
This is a concept that Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has talked about; specifically asking for a person’s chromosomes might in fact clear some things up very quickly.
Why does this matter? Because most people put gender in the place of sex. Delta didn't address gender on their tickets because they only addressed sex; not addressing social gender does not imply that they discriminated against a certain gender.
Freedom of Speech
No company in America can discriminate against a customer for their race, religion, color, sex, or nation of origin. Seeing as Delta makes each customer perfectly able to board the flight by asking for the gender they were born with, Delta never refused service to Henry or her child.
Both parties had their rights in this scenario: Henry (or her child) now has the right to legally change their gender on their birth certificate to something that the person identifies as instead of what they were born as, and Delta has the right to accept a total of two ‘genders’, or sexes, on their planes.
It goes without saying that choices have consequences. The problem is that some people have an inability to see ahead into the consequences their actions might result in. If people dislike these consequences and society simply continues to bend to these people’s will, making their consequences much more desirable, then someone else’s freedom or rights get compromised in the process. Only when people can fully handle the consequences of their actions can we remain a free society.
On the flip side of this arguement, Henry certainly exercised her rights of speech by blabbing all over the internet in a series of 19 tweets how unimpressed she was with Delta’s policies, claiming they discriminate against non-binary people and do not allow them to fly. While Henry could’ve easily respected that not everyone conforms to non-binary or LGBTQ gender labeling simply because they aren’t required to, she instead chose to freely speak out against Delta and make them speak for the choice she made, which was to change (or allow the change of) the gender recorded on her child’s birth certificate.
The problem with many Americans, especially those of the extreme radical left, is that they tend to shirk responsibility. The blame-game is an ever-prevalent strategy for people to get what they want in the states, and this story is just a tiny example of this principle.
Individual choice and responsibilty is all we can count on for a strong economy. Economists have often analyzed how this concept affects America from a monetary standpoint; handing people fish does not work quite as well as teaching them to fish, and it’s evident in the success (or lack of) in past welfare programs. But equity doesn’t end with money, and evidently, it touches on mental and emotional poverty as well. When one finds a deficit in their personal sense of self, the answer does not lie in everyone around them dialing back the heat of every circumstance. The answer lies within yourself, in a type of grit, or even the Finnish concept ‘sisu’, which denotes facing adversity with a tenacity that carves out a new part of yourself. This can only be done however if you are apart of a strong society with deep values.
A society that welcomes changing the sex of a human on their birth certificate simply isn’t strong anymore.
Because we have grown comfortable and entitled, those that are used to receiving feel as if they can never receive enough. Even Dawn Henry mentioned that she was not satisfied with Delta’s efforts to change their policy (as other airlines such as American Airlines have done) to be more inclusive and focused on the traveling experience of the LGBTQ community. Rather she ended her self-proclaimed ‘saga’ by saying that she was happy to see Delta address some long-overdue changes, but that “a promise is not enough”, and that she awaited being personally addressed and apologized to by Delta. Then? She would keep going through airlines in a similar manner until each one had converted their policy to conform with values that would make her and her child feel more accepted and comfortable.
The extent Henry took this matter shows inexplicably that the problem was not Delta’s inability to cooperate, but rather her (and/or her child’s) inability to face any kind of adversity. That is personal, and cannot be solved by the government or any other corporation. Left unchecked however, these inclusivity-seeking companies will reach their limits.
A society without boundaries or rules turns a small bonfire into a wildfire.
These changes such as the one Delta has promised to make on behalf of Dawn Henry may appear small and harmless; eventually however, the underlying mentality will infiltrate society and turn a free market into an authoritarian hell.