Trans Week emphasizes gender identity, equality
November 24, 2014
Trans Awareness Week, which ran from Nov. 17 to 23, recognized and celebrated the transgender members of the LGBTQ community at NYU.
Part of the purpose of the week was to add depth to the typical representations of the LGBTQ community.
LS sophomore Ishani Dugar said NYU needs this representation.
“Trans representation and awareness is very, very little in comparison to other aspects of the community,” Dugar said. “The face of the queer movement is a white, cis, gay male.”
Cisgender individuals are those whose gender and biological sex correspond.
“Trans experiences are difficult for cis people to understand, and I don’t necessarily want a deep understanding from cis people,” Dugar said. “I want cis people to treat trans people like the humans they are.”
CAS senior Serena Daniari agreed that there is a discrepancy within the LGBTQ community. Daniari, a transgender woman, identified as a gay male prior to coming out as trans.
“I think it’s a little bit scarier coming out as trans, having experienced both,” Daniari said.
There are often many misconceptions about what it means to be transgender in addition to confusion about the differences between being transgender and being gay.
“I think the biggest misunderstanding people have is they often conflate sexuality with gender identity,” Daniari said. “Even at NYU, a school with politically active, socially aware students, a lot of people just assume that trans people are the same as gay people.”
There are often many steps someone has to go through as they come out as transgender. The steps, which vary for everyone, can include legalities, such as being recognized by the preferred name and pronouns, and sometimes even medical procedures to feel comfortable in their own bodies.
“Once you come out as trans it’s a little bit daunting because now, okay, you say you’re trans, but there’s a lot of steps you have to go through,” Daniari said. “It’s a very radical thing for someone to do.”
Acknowledging the differences in the transgender and the gay communities serves to emphasize the fact that more can be done. Even at a school as welcoming as NYU, Dugar and Daniari both agree that it is far from perfect.
“I definitely think NYU is very gay-friendly,” Daniari said. “With that being said, I don’t think there’s actually as much education around the trans community at NYU as I would like there to be.”
One of the many misconceptions that surrounds transgender people is that it is the most salient part of who they are.
“Being trans is not the biggest part of a trans person’s identity,” Dugar said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, November 24 print edition. Email Meranda Yslas at [email protected]