Staff Editorial: In light of Transgender Visibility month

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Brandon Giles

In the chaos and confusion that transgender and non-conforming people, support can be provided by surrounding individuals.

The aching anxiety of feeling trappedwhether it be in a sticky situation, realizing the space we have to grow, or bound by ropesis one we’re all painfully familiar with in some shape or form. However, to feel trapped in your own skin and in your own body; this is what’s painfully familiar to those living as a transgender person. It’s the struggle of constantly being forced into a mold we weren’t made to fit into. 

According to a poll conducted by The Crusader, a meager 4.6% of students at Bonita Vista High (BVH) identify as transgender. Those students make up a community that’s evidently come under the line of fire, as evident by the 2017 YRBS survey focusing on transgender high school students, which found that a whopping 24% of Trans youth have felt unsafe going to school. BVH has done little to ease their anxieties around their safety and coming to school. 

After the vandalism that occurred on Oct. 31st of this year, many people were scared to come to school and felt attacked, as specifically trans and LGBTQ+ students were targeted through the transphobic and homophobic writings spraypainted all around the school. Although these are examples of hate crimes fueled by homophobia, it reflects how many simply end up saying the wrong thing because they don’t know how to be supportive. Now more than ever is the time to learn to be supportive or simply more gender-neutral considerate when speaking to those a part of the trans community.  

Although it’s hard and the experience may vary from person to person, we all deal with some level of dysphoria: a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life. Though, when applied to gender, it becomes a sense of uneasiness that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. Some people don’t feel gender dysphoria until someone points it out while others feel it all the time. The one experience every trans person can share is being misgendered. Whether it be on purpose or by accident, it hurts.

Some people don’t feel gender dysphoria until someone points it out while others feel it all the time. The one experience every trans person can share is being misgendered. Whether it be on purpose or by accident, it hurts.”

— Adrian Pereria

It’s exactly why one’s main goal, in a situation where someone they know comes out as Trans, is to be supportive and make them feel comfortable. Coming out is a hard experience and can make a person very anxious and vulnerable. In order to break the cycle and foster an environment considerate of trans individuals, above all, people should be supportive, loving, and be conscientious of their preferred pronouns and name. Referring to them as their preferred name and pronouns can help with gender dysphoria and make them feel comfortable with their identity, especially if they’re being misgendered or not supported at home or school. 

Learning to use new pronouns is a great way to make trans individuals feel comfortable, even with mess-ups every once in a while. In acknowledging and correcting yourself, it demonstrates that you’re listening and actively trying to support their identity.

At BVH, there is an evident lack of importance placed on using the correct pronouns by some students and staff, with BVH alumni like Ariel Islas expressing how little support they felt as a trans student.

“I was never provided with resources in regards to my identity,” Islas said. “I knew of very few other trans kids and the only resources we had that brought us together was the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), where we were able to talk about what was on our minds.” 

The GSA at BVH has been a great support to LGBTQ+ students, but the fact that this is the only resource of notable value on campus, according to students like Islas, is a problem. If 4.6% of students at BVH identify as trans and a much higher percentage are genderqueer or gender non-conforming, why shouldn’t there be more resources available to support them? It’s all the more reason for individuals to take it upon themselves to receive education and give support to those of trans identities so that BVH might be able to foster a better support environment.  

“As far as [being] supported, because I know I didn’t feel supported a lot in my schooling, it makes you feel like you’re not normal, even though normal was not a thing,[…] they [trans kids] should feel like they’re a part of something beautiful because they are there, everyone’s beautiful everyone is amazing,” BVH Alumni Artemis Divine said. 

Divine stressed how “sad” it is for trans individuals to have to learn self-love and validation “the hard way”, as many trans individuals still evidently face large amounts of trauma and discrimination. 

As people, now more than ever, we should try and support trans people in as many ways that we can. Whether it be through clubs, extra support, or just recognizing trans visibility month. This can help prevent a lot of the damage from being done. Simply putting up posters and making people aware of pronouns would be a huge help. This November, Trans Awareness month, make an effort to use pronouns, be respectful and be mindful of the words you say; they can affect others.