A few weeks ago I attended a panel called Trans? Fine By Me!, which talked about the everyday struggles the transgender community at Geneseo faces, and it was held in light of the offensive comments that were made by a professor earlier in the semester. Hearing a number of Geneseo students and faculty members speak about their experience on campus was eye opening, and involved a lot of critical thinking internally, one of the learning outcomes which we have been talking about in this course.
I thought I would share a few things from the panel with you all, and talk about how it made me feel. One example that stuck out to me from the panel was a Geneseo faculty member talking about the same sex bathrooms on campus. m. It turns out that Geneseo just turned mens restrooms into gender neutral bathrooms. That being said, they basically just changed the sign outside the bathroom and left the inside the same. I never really gave this much thought, but the student talked about how it makes the members of the transgender community feel as if it is still just a men’s bathroom and makes them feel like outcast. Another example was a student was talking about telling his professor that he had a sex change, and what it led to. After telling him, the professor was calling him a her every once and awhile, and would then correct their self by saying the proper pronouns. The student then elaborated and said how he would have prefered it if the professor would just call him by his name, instead of he or her. This would keep him from being embarrassed when the professor corrected himself by saying “her, I mean him”. This student also mentioned how when something like this happens, he would go home and feel so upset by it that he could not even focus on doing hours of homework and studying, clearly showing that these every struggles have a major affect on their lives.
Upon hearing these two examples among several others at the panel, I began thinking. I thought about how I never really thought that transgender men and women faced such difficulties, and that I truthfully never paid much attention to that subject. This is an example of thinking critically by evaluating the assumptions underlying the claims of self and others. Up until this panel, I had an assumption made in my mind by myself on the struggles of the transgender community at my own college that was clearly a false and understated one. However, after hearing and visualizing how difficult these problems really are, I was able to come to a reasonable conclusions on the basis of evidence provided during the panel that I need to be more aware of the struggles my own schoolmates face and raise awareness among others to try and help make these problems decrease in occurrence.