ToBGLAD: Senior explains gender identity

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Leah Budson” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]

Senior Madeleine Aquilina gives a presentation on gender identity E-block in the little theatre.

by Peter Diamond
In order to educate about transsexuality, transgender issues and transphobia, senior Madeleine Aquilina, an officer of the Gay-Straight Alliance, gave a presentation in the little theatre E-block yesterday as a part of Transgender Bisexual Gay Lesbian Awareness Day.
She began by explaining the definition of transgender.
“Transgender people don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth,” she said.
She also explained the gender spectrum, saying that transsexual people consider themselves to be the opposite gender of their birth assignment, whereas transgender people can fall anywhere on the spectrum.
“It’s important to not consider male and female the only two gender options,” she said. “Gender is a wide spectrum, and some people don’t fall on either end.”
Next, she explained the difference between transsexuality and sexual orientation, saying that ‘trans’ refers to a person’s gender identity, whereas sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual attraction.
“It’s important to keep in mind that trans people can be gay, straight, bisexual, asexual–all the different ends of the spectrum,” she said.
At the end of the presentation, she described trans rights and transphobia, or the discrimination against transgender people.
She explained that transgender and transsexual people often live at a high risk of harassment and violent crime, and their rights are not protected by the government. For example, transgender people can legally be fired and denied housing and health care because of their gender identity.
“A lot of times, because we live in Newton and are lucky to go to school here, we think there’s not a lot of discrimination, but we have to be educated because it’s an important thing to know about,” she said.