Throughout my studies there I focused primarily on critical issues within the field of gender and sexuality. Now, being a more conservative private college there really was not a program for that so I ended up with a double major in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies.
However, a consistent theme throughout my life has been befriending like-minded individuals (usually outcasts) and sharing experiences together. It was inevitable that one day that experience sharing would eventually develop into social justice advocacy.
That being said, I find that the transgender community is often fragmented by geography. While it is true that we belong to every race, tax bracket, country, and time period, two trans* people could live in the same town and not have any means of knowing each other existed. And even if they did happen to know each other it is no more likely they would get along better than any two cisgender people in a town.
In particular, I found that my speech clinician Dr. Richard Adler was a particularly impressive driving force. Working closely with the trans* community, a Transgender Resource Guide was made. I was excited to assist him in every way I could alongside my academic studies, FM Derby Girls practices, and martial arts training under Grand Master Marquart.
By happenstance, I found myself one of the few out transgender residents at a critical point in North Dakotan trans* history. Senate Bill 2252, an LGBT non-discrimination bill was introduced at the end of January 2013. I was proud to join forces in a movement comprised of many impressive North Dakotan activists such as legislature Joshua Boschee, and attorney Thomas Fiebiger. I was even fortunate enough to be able to testify in front of the North Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee on the importance of this legislation. Unfortunately, the bill failed in committee just three weeks after its introduction; a true testament to what it feels like to be queer in North Dakota.
However, with so many transgender actors being excluded from the media, I think the best way a cisgender actor can be an ally is to reserve transgender characters for transgender actors. Not unlike how male actors reserve female roles for women or white actors reserve black roles for people of color.
|By age 21, Roe had already studied|
academically on three continents.
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
To not only question; but physically, emotionally, spiritually, and politically demonstrate that our preconceived notions of sex and gender are malleable is a huge deal. Most humans have strong gender identities (whether they know it or not). Those identities in many ways dictate how they interact with broader society and what opportunities are offered to them. Trans justice is justice for all people who have had opportunities denied to them because of their gender identity.
However, gender variant individuals were told by leadership that keeping the name exclusionary was necessary to garner campus support. It was feared that students, administration, and alumni donors may not support the pressing gay and lesbian issues such as marriage if they were to make such a move for inclusivity. However, marriage wasn't really the most pressing issue for gender variant people at Concordia. They were too busy encountering restrictive policies, harassment, and even violence on campus. Unfortunately, this "under the bus" phenomenon is all too common in the wider LGB/T movement as well.
|Martial arts, debate, and roller derby|
are just some of Roe's hobbies.
Do I think transgender women can make a difference in politics? Absolutely. Everyone can and should.
First and foremost, I am really tired of all the negativity in the world. The only way we can create a better world is to learn how to forgive and support others. Attempting to create positive social change is hard work.
It requires a lot of emotional labor because our work is tied into our own identities and day to day experiences. Often it makes us feel like there is a real "Us Versus Them" war. I simply do not believe this is true. People's perceptions of the world are limited by their experiences. And many experiences lend credibility to warped or misguided assumptions about the world.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Obviously, each person must evaluate their situation and make the best choices for their own life. When you question whether or not you are doing the right thing, I encourage you to reflect on the trans* individuals who have laid down their lives for us to continue this movement. Their strength is channeled through us as we work to make the world a better place for all people.