Trans? Fine by me!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a panel of students that talked about their struggles on the SUNY Geneseo campus and the discrimination they face with their sexual orientation. The event was called Trans?Fine by me! The event was held after an incident that occurred with a sociology professor having made offensive comments about the LGBTQ+ community. I was invited by a student in my biochemistry class that identified themselves as someone in the process of transitioning. During the event, the students elaborated about feeling like a minority group due to the fact that people could be ignorant and often made offensive comments towards their appearance or life choices. The same student on the panel that had invited me beforehand spoke about many instances in which our professor would often use the wrong pronouns and felt uncomfortable having to correct them all the time. Although it isn’t intentional and the professor probably doesn’t remember their pronouns, it can still get annoying and offensive for them. I have been in the same class with this student for almost a full semester and never realized that the professor was using the wrong pronouns to call on them consistently. I then realized that some professors don’t really take the time to learn such things like Professor McCoy had done at the start of the semester. During the event I started to think about all of my professors and realized that on the first day of class, Professor McCoy made us all introduce each other and announce our preferred pronouns. It’s the little things like this that can make people like my friend more comfortable in a classroom and less discriminated against. After attending the event, I mentioned how my english professor had done this and many on the panel said that they would appreciate it if all professors did this. This is a rising issue for many on campus and just being called by the wrong pronouns can have a huge impact on how uncomfortable people a part of the Trans community may feel. Overall, the event was very informative and they elaborated on all of the terminology they used for the people that have never heard such terms before. It was an informative event that showed me that raising awareness and educating people on such matters can make a difference. One of the Geneseo Learning Outcomes states “recognizing and respect diverse identities, beliefs, backgrounds and life choices”(7). With this in mind, I think that Geneseo is a very inclusive environment, but still needs to work to help the students on the panel to feel more respected and comfortable on campus.

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