For a sizable portion of modern music culture, transgender artists have had to work harder than cisgender artists while receiving less recognition and praise for similar performances of their skills and talents. Yet in 2018 and the years that now will follow, artists such as Scottish DJ, singer and producer SOPHIE (stylized in all capitals) are attempting to take a commanding hold on the industry and orient their power into a new realm of acceptance.
I vaguely remember what I was doing at that age. And I remember experiences in which I felt inferior to men, thinking as a young girl that I was not capable of certain tasks just because I was a girl. Society’s ideals can be cruel. Especially when you are told that if you do something a man does, you are not “acting like a lady.”
“How might your life be different if you were a boy (or a boy instead of a girl)?”
Their responses were shocking. However, they were answers I was expecting. Although many were positive, some were really sad to read. These children were interviewed from all different parts of the world by National Geographic.
Passing is about performance. Passing is about presentation. Passing is about appearance and external markers of identity. Because most of the world only knows each of us through how we look, and we never get to explain our inner nuances to them, then they only see us for what we are the outside. They make assumptions for what our outward selves signify for our inner selves. Our identity and beliefs are assumed from a quick glance. Usually people think of gender or race with the topic of passing, but passing can involve a huge range of personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, religion, disability or ability, job occupation, level of education, intelligence, economic class, and social status. Passing can signify any personal characteristic of identity.
Last week I had the privilege to meet with Madeline Scyphers, an activist for the queer community. I had a lot of questions about her community, and Madeline had a lot of answers. I started out by asking Madeline what her identities are so I could get an idea of where she is coming from. She has many, and her response was, “I identify as trans. I identify somewhere between a transwoman and someone who identifies as nonbinary transfeminine. What that means to me is I do feel like the binary gender system of being a man or a woman does not necessarily fit me as a descriptor all the time. I never identify as someone who is a man or a boy, and I really hate it when someone does gender me that way.”
That’s just one aspect of her identity. When I asked her about her sexual orientation, she responded, “The best word I use is queer. I do and have always primarily dated women, but I’m attracted to most people, at least some of the time, but not all people all of the time. Bi and pan don’t really encompass that; only if you explain it to someone. Since I have to explain it to someone anyways, because it’s [the terms bi and pan] implying things that I don’t want it to imply, why don’t you just use the term queer, which is purposefully vague? I can use it, and you don’t make assumptions about what it means.” There’s more to Madeline than her sexual orientation and gender identity. Madeline said, “I also identify as an activist, I am a math student, and that’s really important to me, and it plays into a larger identity of feeling like kind of a nerd.” Continue reading “A Discussion of Language and Inclusion with Activist Madeline Scyphers”→
So far, this column has been geared mostly toward women’s health. But lately, I’ve been seeing more and more articles in the media about LGBTQ health. We all know that seeing your doctor for whatever reason can be a bit of a pain. But for members of the LGBTQ community, it is more than just a hassle. It is apparent that America’s health care system is desperately subpar when it comes to serving queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming people.
America has made some recent positive strides with regard to LGBTQ rights. There are now a number of laws protecting people from discrimination in the workplace and other places because of their sexual orientation or gender. Also, 15 states now afford queer couples a few of the same rights as heterosexual couples. Despite the legal progress, though, America still lacks adequate provision of comprehensive healthcare for members of the LGBTQ community. Continue reading “Closing the Healthcare Gap for LGBTQ Patients”→
I am always on the lookout for new and exciting books to read into the late hours of the night. When I say new and exciting, I mean novels that are not about the same (white) damsel-in-distress waiting for her prince, or another teen angst book complaining about life. These books seem to be so popular, compared to the underrepresented African American, Asian American, or Latin American protagonist, and let’s not even mention the lack of representation of lesbian, gay, or transgendered characters. Go to any bookstore and you can find a multitude of books on elves, vampires, and witches, but trying to find a book on transgendered teens is nearly impossible.