As LSU gets closer to finding its consecutive tiger, Mike VII (after the passing of Mike VI this past July) activists from the Women and Gender Studies’ college petition LSU to open their doors to its’ first ever, gender-neutral tiger, after decades of traditionally all-male cats.
Nellie Bena, junior at LSU and leader of the Women and Gender Studies’ newest activist group, Tigers Without Binaries, says she is “tired of watching animals be treated as us humans once were: gender-binned.”
Nellie, along with fellow TWB activists, recently submitted an open letter to Mike’s head veterinarian, Dr. David Baker, demanding the need for a gender-fluid tiger.
“You have to remember: this mascot…this Mike character, was created by an old, outdated patriarchal society of penises,” the letter reads, “How dare us determine the gender of our mascot and of this tiger, when the mascot is supposed to embody all of us? Plus, we’re sure the late Mike VI would have liked a choice in the matter…when he was still young and alive.”
The letter tackles issues such a male favoritism in sports as well as discussing the power of androgyny and what this could be mean for future LSU students.
Hayden Pointer, Senior at LSU and member of Tigers Without Binaries, says as a gender-fluid person, he would like his school mascot to be more than a “man taking names.”
“I remember being eight years old and thinking LSU’s mascot was overly-masculinized and simply unfair to the other genders of our endless spectrum,” explains Pointer. “So I’m hoping we can get with the sports people and come up with a more gender-neutral name. We came up with Mika, but we’re open to other suggestions.”
The Black Sheep spoke with other students on the matter, many of which do not like the idea of having a non-binary mascot.
Benji Maxwell, sixth year student and Interdisciplinary Studies major at LSU, is one of the many students who claim it’s “just not right” to allow Mike or Mika to be genderless if he or she chooses so.
“Yo, Mike is my boy!” claims Maxwell. “He pulls ass left to right. Him being male makes LSU legendary. I get the whole feminist thing and I’m down with it, but come on. Leave that dude Mike out of this. He has a penis…he’s a man.”
The Black Sheep has reached out to Dr. Baker, who was not available for meeting due to his month-long expedition in Africa for the continuous quest of our newest mascot.
Nellie urges all students and faculty to sign the online petition (through Facebook only) that will ensure LSU gets a gender-neutral tiger as well as renaming Mike VII to a more gender-fluid name. She hopes to receive enough signatures before Dr. Baker makes his decision, which is predicted to be made by the end of this month.
Nellie would also like to remind all students: “It’s 2017, you guys: The year of women, Beyoncé, and almost-female presidents. It’s time to get with it.”
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