By Taylor Gerard
Within the past few months, celebrities such as Bruce Jenner and Laverne Cox who have identified themselves outwardly as transgender, have helped to open the public’s mind to better understanding and acceptance of gender identification. While being transgender today remains hard, there is a lot of compassion and support out there.You just have to know where to look.
First off, it’s important to actually understand what being transgender means: Being transgender means that a person identifies more closely with the gender opposite to the one they were born with. It’s important to take note that gender and sex are two completely different concepts. Sex is your biologically identifier-- whether you are physically male or physically female. Gender is a social construct. Boys are expected to act one way, girls another. These standards are ingrained in us from a young age. However, if you are transgender, you might not want to act the way you are “supposed to.”
It’s time for a change...
Today’s society is trying to define what it means to be gender neutral so that all people can feel comfortable being themselves. In many high school’s around the country, gender neutral bathrooms are starting to open up, giving people of any sex and gender the opportunity to use at all times and without question. A lot of schools around the country are trying to enforce the use of gender neutral pronouns. In a school district in Lincoln, Nebraska they are taking that concept one step further. The school district has a gender inclusive campaign going on. This campaign proposes that instead of looking at students as “boys” and “girls, ” they could instead be segregated into students who like skateboards or bicycles, or milk or juice. This is a start to a more progressive and equal way of thinking.
There are plenty of organizations out there to support family and friends of transgender people. Check out PFLAG at community.pflag.org. If you are a transgender person and want to get some outside support, The National Center for Transgender Equality is one of many places to look, transequality.org. CNN recommends two books, “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” and “Transparent.” If you know someone who is transgender, it is important to be supportive and respect them for who they are and not treat them any differently than your other friends. If you have a family member who is transgender, your job is to love them unconditionally.