Thursday 24th July 2014,
The Transcript

Helping OWU ‘trans-ition’ its outlook

TheTranscript April 10, 2014 News No Comments

By Olivia Lease
Transcript Correspondent

In an effort to make Ohio Wesleyan a more open environment, seniors Nora Anderson and Skylar Drake presented their senior projects, which was “Trans-ition Your Outlook,” on transgender and non-binary issues.

Due to the workshop’s conflict with John Lewis’ visit, they have scheduled another discussion to be held Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the faculty-staff lounge of Hamilton Williams Campus Center.

Drake, an intern at the Women’s Resource Center, led the discussion based portion.

“(We wanted) to have it be something we can talk about and help move forward,” she said.

The event was part of Anderson and Drake’s senior sociology seminar project.

For Anderson, who led the educational portion of the event, the interest in trans* issues stemmed from a lack of awareness and action.

“I had noticed previously that there are a lot of organizations on campus that say LGBT, use that acronym, and don’t focus on transgender issues,” Anderson said.

“I think it’s an issue that people really need to be informed about.”

Both Anderson and Drake also voiced their interests in OWU becoming more transgender friendly.

Specific things they mentioned included more gender neutral bathrooms, gender inclusive housing and a fill in the blank option for gender identification on forms.

“A lot of huge things often don’t get done on this campus, but a lot of little things often do,” Anderson said.

Both also noted the importance of faculty involvement.

“We both didn’t want this discussion to be limited to students, we wanted to bring it to a group that are pivotal to the university and might not be having these discussions at all,” said Drake.

Junior Kyle Simon attended the event and is an intern at the Spectrum Resource Center, which he described as “a student led office that creates programming geared towards raising awareness and helping the queer community.”

Simon said it is extremely important for faculty to get involved in the discussion because they support the students emotionally.

“(Them) being aware of the issues and trying might mean the world to a prospective student that is trans* or a trans* freshman who is just adjusting or someone who is just now realizing that they may have a trans* identity,” Simon said.

Anderson and Drake commented on the fact that they are both cisgender women planning a transgender awareness event.

Cisgender refers to having a gender identity that matches the one assigned at birth.

They said they did contact non-binary identifying students in the planning but didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, targeted, or held as a representative for the community.

For the next discussion they are hosting, Anderson said she “would really love to see (more) transgender and non- binary students take part in this discussion because this is their discussion.

“This is something that is affecting their lives on a daily basis.”

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