The Evolving World Of Gender Identity: Transgender At The Forefront

The Evolving World Of Gender Identity: Transgender At The Forefront

141
views

At this point in our lives we should understand that gender is a socially constructed term to give people a sense of identity. We are men or we are women, that's it, right? That's far from the truth; gender expression is fluid and dynamic and not just black and white. We can identify our gender as female but choose to express ourselves in masculine ways or even identify as male and choose to express in feminine ways. It's best to see gender as a spectrum since we have a little bit of everything making up our genders.

An expression on that spectrum in transgender, when your gender expression does not match their physical sex. Most people who identify as transgender explain that they feel as though they were trapped inside their own body. Though people have identified as transgender for years, it has become more visible in the media with famous people representing and speaking out for the transgender community. Here are the people you should look out for who represent the community well.

1. Laverne Cox.

Laverne gained her fame when she starred on Netflix's original series Orange is the New Black. That role paralleled her own personal transition toward becoming the woman she always knew she was. After her performance, she became the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. Since rising to fame she has become an active advocate for trans rights and education for society. She has spoken about the trans community:

"The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don't get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people's lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don't actually get to talk about those things."

Her work has revolutionized the way the world sees the trans community and has changed the conversation from transition to expression.

2. Jazz Jennings.

Jazz is a teenager who took the world by storm when she was named as the youngest spokeswoman for trans awareness at six years old when she was a guest on The Rosie Show. At 11 years old she produced a documentary, I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition, that debuted on Oprah Winfrey's network. Shortly after she released a children's book called I Am Jazz.

Her work didn't stop there and she continued to speak out on her YouTube channel where she became a celebrity, making her the youngest and most influential spokesmodel for trans children and teens of the decade. She has done countless interviews with the media from Barbara Walters and CNN. She is a fast growing force who educates the world on understanding trans children and teens rather than shaming them. She has become a trusted and loved voice of the young trans community.

3. Bruce Jenner.


Bruce Jenner most recently expressed his identity with Diana Sawyer in mid April proclaiming, "I am a woman." Over the past years, media speculation has belittled Bruce on his personal journey to expressing himself truthfully. As a member of the Kardashian family he has lived in the spotlight for the better part of the decade, but has been struggling since he was a child with his identity. He is most famous for winning the gold medal for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. He expressed in his interview that he had to be this macho man like the world thought he was but explained himself quite differently.

"My brain is much more female than it is male. It's hard for people to understand that, but that's what my soul is," said Jenner.

Since expressing his current gender identity, he has received immense support from his family and the world for his honest and brave display and expression. Many comment that Bruce has just paved the way for other people who are afraid to express themselves and to finally break free.

We are part of an evolving and eclectic world that cannot be easily defined. We establish false categories of identity but the people above have shown that categories don't work and they will never work. Current examples of representations of the trans community have demonstrated on a larger scale that you cannot put humans in a box. We are not one thing or another but something entirely mixed and diverse. As we continue on I hope as a human race that we become more open with ourselves and others so we can all be a true representation of who we really are.

Cover Image Credit: Gender Expression Spectrum

Popular Right Now

Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
297780
views

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

105
views

"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Giphy

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

Related Content

Facebook Comments