If you’re not well-versed in transgenderspeak, this University of Maryland Diamondback article may come off as somewhat befuddling.
Though UM made Campus Pride’s list of Top 30 list of LGBT-friendly colleges and universities, some transgender students on campus don’t feel the college deserves the honor.
Tat Caicedo, for example, says that “[t]here’s ‘a majority of white cisgender women’ in their classes” and they’re “none of that.” They are a Latinx trans person but are often referred to as a woman.
Did those sentences just confuse you? That may be because the Diamondback piece refers to Caicedo as “they” even though, er, they refer to themself(selves?) as “I” and “me.” Got that?
(To avoid further confusion in this article, italics will be used to indicate when a typically plural pronoun is used in place of a singular pronoun.)
Caicedo says that in one of their classes, everyone in the room is greeted as if all are female — “Hey, ladies,” for example. “Immediately when they say that, I’m completely turned off from the conversation, and unfortunately I can’t learn,” they say.
Engineering major Remi Liang plans to change their major as a senior because, they claim, engineering students “tend to be especially intolerant”: “I honestly tried to take an engineering class last semester and I couldn’t even make myself go,” they said.
Each semester, Caicedo sends their professors emails explaining that their legal name on the roster is not what they go by, and that they use they/them pronouns. This has been met with mixed responses, they said.
“Some teachers are like, ‘OK, thank you for telling me,’ and they’ll use the right name. They’ll call me Tat, but they’ll use the wrong pronouns for the whole semester,” Caicedo said. “It’s like, ‘Why did I put [in] that effort?'”
Senior Max Balagtas-Badoy regularly advocates for himself in the classroom.
“I’m not afraid to go up to a teacher and bring up my concerns about something that might have happened in the class that might have made queer people feel excluded or invalidated or unsafe,” Balagtas-Badoy said.
In Balagtas-Badoy’s psychology class, a professor spoke about transgender people “as if they were too insignificant or too much of an outlier to really consider,” and that the difference between sex and gender is basically negligible, he said. …
Though Balagtas-Badoy currently majors in philosophy and psychology, he used to be on the pre-med track, where he said a lot of transphobia takes the form of biological essentialism. This is the belief that “your genitals and your sex determine your entire identity, and anything else isn’t really valid,” he said.
So, it is “transphobia” if you refer to a person with a penis as … a “man”?
A commenter to the article raises a good question: “Are race (or ethnicity) and gender the same?” Indeed — and if not, how come? Why is it acceptable to call Ms. Caicedo “transgender,” but it’s a cultural sin to refer to Rachel Dolezal as “transracial”?
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