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Lecture presents transgender issues

SAMANTHA CASTANEDA | Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A volunteer at the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana talked about her experience as a transgender person in a lecture Tuesday in Dalloway’s Café at Saint Mary’s.

In the presentation, titled “On the Understanding of the Transgender Experience,” speaker Meghan Buell said while transgender individuals have always been around, this designation for people who don’t conform to traditional genders has only arisen in the last few decades.

“The term ‘transgender’ is an umbrella term that has developed in [the last] 10 to 15 years and encompasses any person that is gender non-conforming,” Buell said.

Buell said a lot of “closed thinking” surrounded her while she grew up. She said she knew there was something different about her from a young age, but she had difficulty finding resources to learn about her identity.

Suicide and rejection are particularly big issues for the transgender community, especially when members of that community face a lack of education and resources, Buell said.

“With the lack of those resources growing up and a good support group, the lack of education and the lack of an adult figure to go asks questions about it, it becomes a very heavy burden to carry around,” she said.

Buell encouraged audience members to accept the transgender community and to be aware the transgender community needs help addressing several issues.
“Fight for equal rights, be compassionate, ask questions, and have a little bit of empathy for the hurdles and struggles they may have,” she said.

Buell also discussed her experience with gender reassignment surgery, her struggle to accept that she was transgender and the courage she needs to remain committed to what she sees as her true identity.

“Being transgender is not an easy way to go through life,” Buell said. “It’s a choice.”

The College’s psychology department, the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and the Cross Currents Program’s Collegiate Speakers Series co-sponsored Buell’s lecture. The Lilly Endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities through Educational Collaborations funded the event.

Contact Samantha Castaneda at scasta01@saintmarys.edu