How about a little positivity to cleanse the palate from last night’s downer post?
One of the things I observe often (at least when I’m not moonlighting as Debbie Downer) is how much things have been improving for the trans community over the course of my lifetime. Things really are getting better all the time. With all the attention the bad stuff receives, it’s important to take some time to celebrate the successes.
One that sticks out for me today comes from Central Florida University, which is currently debating transgender inclusive policies. The student senate recently voted to override the veto of a bill designed to include gender identity as a protected class on campus. The vetoing university official responded by scrambling to explain that she was entirely supportive of the goal, but the rules required another approach. Another official argued that the necessary changes shouldn’t need to wait for the bureaucracy so why don’t we just get on with it.
In the midst of it all, a trans student offered one of the most concise and accurate depictions of the trans experience I’ve read, carried by the student paper…
“Imagine, for a moment, living in a body that is not your own,” the junior biology major said. “When you try to live in a way that makes you feel comfortable, they say you’re wrong, confused, a freak. Transitioning is not for the faint of heart.”
This kind of love-fest over trans inclusion was virtually inconceivable in my own college days.
We’re only talking twenty years ago. Back then we didn’t talk about transgender issues on campus because there was literally no awareness that such a thing existed. Heck, I was a trans person myself and it wasn’t until after I graduated college that I became aware of the word transgender.
At the time the “GALA alliance” was the cutting edge on campus and quite controversial. A few of the more radical campus institutions were trying to press gay and lesbian inclusion, but mainstream organizations like the university administration and student senate would have nothing to do with it.
After reading the article from Central Florida University, I went back to check how things such issues have progressed at my own alma mater. The results were equally encouraging.
In a mere two decades since I was a student, gay and lesbian campus inclusion is taken for granted and trans inclusion seems bound for the same. This is important. People who are educated in environments in which inclusion is the norm are going to find it strange and backward when they enter non-inclusive workplaces. Social change will happen as a result.
Things are getting better for trans people, even if it feels like it’s happening at a glacial pace at times.