By Liliana Duarte
Students filled T1200 at the LAC to hear speakers Darya Teesewell, a transgender female, and Kevin, a transgender male, on Thursday, May 6.
Regardless of the fliers that were torn down for the transgender event, many people still attended.
Teesewell and Kevin spoke of the struggles they went through to get to the place in their lives where they are happy. Teesewell said since age 8 she knew she was different from everyone else. Teesewell struggled when she was young for she thought she was the only person in the world who was going through these difficulties.
Teesewell said, “Gender identity is who you believe you are.”
Kevin discovered who he really was at age 4. Kevin went through similar difficulties as Teesewell did. They both decided to be who they really were when they were much older.
After an hour, Teesewell and Kevin answered questions from the audience. One question that was asked was, “If we have a friend who is going through a similar situation, what advice would you give us to help them?”
Teesewell said, “Listen to their story. Take it seriously.”
And Kevin said, “If someone is willing to confide with you … feel honored that they were willing to share that with you.”
Fernanda Ochoa, 18, a nursing major, said, “I really like that they were brave enough to come in front of a crowd and express their feelings because I know a lot of people are not open about it. And I like the fact that they were able to come out and tell us about it. We could also learn from it even if we are not transgender. We could still help someone out instead of just shutting people out.”
Teacher and Department Head of Social Sciences Nancy Melucci said, “The goal from this event was gender tolerance. My hope in doing this is to put a face to the people who don’t have a voice in our society.” Melucci also said she hopes to be able to have the transgender event every Spring.
“Every anthropologist teaches an intro-level cultural class about gender. It is very difficult to understand when you say gender is culturally constructed or created by culture and you try to give examples outside of our culture. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to bring people in from our own culture, people who they can relate to and understand.
“Hopefully, some of the students who were here today walk away a little bit more open-minded and open-hearted,” Melucci said.