Accepting Transgender Individuals into our Society
Dr. Nancy Strapko, a practicing psychologist, came to speak to the student senate about accommodating and accepting transgender individuals into our society.
She explained the way that a transgender person thinks and the everyday struggles that they often have to face and also offered suggestions about how we can accept them into society.
Often times we get the term sex, gender, and sexual orientation confused. According to Strapko, we need a clear understanding between gender and sex. We use these two terms interchangeably, for instance on driver's licenses, but these two terms are very different.
When talking about gender roles and where they fit in society people need to keep in mind sexual orientation and gender.
When talking about gender, a good definition of gender is the conviction that you are male or female.
For most people, if you are in a male body you are convinced you are a male. For someone who has a gender identity disorder, their conviction is different than what their body looks like.
They are not delusional or psychotic, says Strapko. The inside doesn't match the outside
A gender identity disorder is someone who has a strong and persistent cross gender identity. Another criterion for gender identity disorder is they are constantly discontented with their sex.
The disturbance causes such unhappiness that they are often not able to function in society. According to Strapko, the suicide rate among Transgendered, Transsexual individuals is nine times the normal population.
It is not about orientation, it is about identity. In college or university settings, they generally are put in co-ed housing and individuals are allowed to be with the gender that they are comfortable with, or they are often in single rooms.
Transgendered individuals are usually not on sports teams because that would put them in locker rooms and over night situations. The law states that if you have male genetalia you must still use the men's room.
Strapko suggests that every college have at least one bathroom in every building that is co-ed. A lot of clubs and organizations never know that a person was ever any other gender than they are right now.
Universities and colleges can also include transgender rights in their constitutions.
Some of the things that students can do individually are the same as gay and lesbian issues. If people are talking about these kinds of issues in an offensive or derogatory way, step up and say something.
Also, ask the individuals. People love to talk about themselves and they want to tell their stories. Don't shun them, include them.
Universities and schools can do some things to help, however laws restrict them.
questions or comments feel free to contact the Senate at X 2298
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy Strapko, Ph.D.