Event educates students about trans community

Trans 101 identifies the definition of different gender identities.
LGBTQ Resource Center coordinator Struby Struble kicked off 2012's Trans Awareness Week on Monday with Trans* 101. Struble provided the attendants of Trans* 101 with basic information about trans identities, definitions and common concerns surrounding the trans community. 

Trans Awareness Week kicked off Nov. 5 in Memorial Union with Trans 101, a presentation about the basics of trans life hosted by LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator Struby Struble.

Students, staff and community members attending the event received lunches from Wheatstone Bistro.

The event’s slideshow featured core knowledge associated with the trans community and focused on defining gender within the current context of society.

Gender can be seen in many different ways depending on an individual’s personal views, Struble said. Gender can be recognized as a role, stereotype, privilege or oppression.

“Gender expression is showing what our gender identity is to the world,” Struble said. “We all do gender expression differently. We’ve all been taught different things about it.”

Trans 101 attendees received sheets of paper with terms and definitions associated with the LGBTQ community, including some sexual orientations and gender identities.

Trans identities can come in many forms, but the general idea behind a transexual or transgender person is defying normative gender roles.

“Gender is assigned to us when we are seconds or minutes old,” she said. “From then on, we are told how to live our lives according to this assignment. A transgender person lives life not according to that assignment.”

Struble stressed the importance of self-identity throughout her presentation and discouraged assigning gender to other people based on stereotypes and physical appearances.

“Some people say, ‘Oh, I know what a trans person looks like,’ or, ‘I have no idea what a trans person looks like,’” she said. “Well, they look like humans.”

Senior and peer adviser Jerica Holt said she hopes to use what she learned from Trans 101 to spotlight Transgender Awareness Week in her residence hall. She said society can change the way it treats trans people to better accommodate them.

“Society and the members within it find it more acceptable to assign identities before they know someone, but that person might not identify with that gender,” Holt said. “We need to let other people identify themselves and then respect that.”

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