Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Centers and Margins- Extended Comments

This post on Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth, will be an extended comments piece on Bianca's Blog!

In Bianca's Blog, she gives those on the outside an inside source by talking about her Service Learning Project experience.  A student in her assigned classroom is transgender and identifies themselves as a male.  Bianca talks about how she immediately took note of this special case, and made clear to herself that she would do what she could to make this student feel more comfortable in, what can be, an ignorant high school environment.  She tells a story of one time where she slipped up, accidentally using "she" instead of "he." Embarrassed, Bianca quickly corrects her mistake and apologizes to the student, and he held no grudge against her due to the fact that it was merely an accident.  She leaves us by saying, "going forward I absolutely will make the conscious effort to respect him and his identity."

I loved this post because this is something that people who are on the outside of the LGBTQ community struggle with regularly.  In my high school, I sat back and watched throughout my four years a male transition into a female. He was no longer Michael anymore... She was Chloe.  I can only imagine how hard it was for Chloe. I remember a specific time my sophomore year where my peers and I witnessed the transformation.  I looked down the hallway to see, what looked like, a woman.  Wearing a dress and high heel shoes.  Only thing that threw me off was the shorter haircut she seemed to have.  As the day progressed, one of my peers had asked me if I had seen Michael today.  Michael and I were never friends, only because we had never quite crossed paths.  I had never once had a class with him or hung out with his friend group.  He was quite irrelevant to my high school career, actually.  So when my peer asked if I had seen him, I shook my head no.  He then began to explain that he was wearing a dress and high heel shoes and, of course, it clicked to me. That woman I had seen earlier that day was, indeed, Michael.  For the remainder of the day, that was the talk of the school.  All around me, people were making fun of Michael. I felt embarrassed for him. Michael had to have heard the insults and rumors coming from all directions, so what was he to do next? I figured he would change schools or just go back to the outfits that he wore before that day. Boy, was I wrong. He came in the next day with another women-like outfit, and the day after that, and the day after that... I think you get the gist of it.  Michael was not embarrassed one bit, because for the first time in his life, he could be himself... or herself... See! It's quite easy to make that mistake. I feel as though people in the LGBTQ community realize this struggle and, for the most part, will understand that accidents happen.

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