Transgender awareness represented in Kiva

Samantha Nonno

Issues on gender equality, as well as societal issues surrounding transgender people, were presented to students in the Kiva Tuesday night.

Susan Stryker headlined the presentation, speaking about how transgender issues have changed and how they have been shaped over the past 25 years. Stryker spoke mainly about the difficulties she and other transgender women have had to face in the past few decades

“Being gendered is something common to the human experience,” she said. “Fear held me in place in keeping me from transitioning.”

Stryker said she was held back from wanting to become who she felt she was, postponing her transition until she was in her 30’s because she did not want to be unaccepted by society. Stryker said the transgender population is four times more likely to live in extreme poverty than the general population.

Ellen Sears, a junior political science major, said that there are habits people can change that could help with this, and that there are many things that can be done to help with the awareness of gender equality.

“Change your language,” she said. “Instead of saying mankind, say people-kind.”

Sears said that becoming aware of the LGBTQ community can change the stereotypes people see them in.

“I think it’s incredible how the visibility has increased exponentially,” Sears said. “I think especially the young adult books are important. I didn’t even know transgender was a thing until I was 15 years old.”

Yuberniz Orengo, Trans*Fusion secretary and a senior majoring in fashion merchandising, said education is key when it comes to creating gender equality. She said people should get informed by transgender men and women that are educated and want to help educate others

“When it comes to it, my saying has always been ‘trans-faces in trans-spaces,’” she said.

Contact Samantha Nonno at [email protected].