The Evolving World Of Gender Identity: Transgender At The Forefront

The Evolving World Of Gender Identity: Transgender At The Forefront

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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

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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