Drew Acorn: Transgender acceptance promoted
- Transgender acceptance promoted
Copy Desk Chief
Published: Friday, September 24, 2010
Updated: Friday, September 24, 2010 03:09
Requests from students for better transgender education on Drew's campus has
prompted the administration to undertake a training program for faculty and
staff. The training session, held Thursday, Sept. 23 in U.C. 107, aided
members of the community in understanding both the issues that transgender
people face and the language to use when addressing them.
Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs Frank Merckx, who
spearheaded the program, was hopeful. "It will be about understanding
terminology and. taking some of the student experiences here. We all believe
we offer a certain service, and we want to see what the reality is," he
said. According to Merckx, the session will help address "everything from
gender-neutral housing, to bathrooms, to names on ID cards."
Representative of the The Bryson Institute of the Attic Youth Center J.
Mason, who led the session, expressed his overarching message. "Who we are
as LGBT people is valid because of our experience. If you're in a place to
support students, I can help you," he said. Mason discussed rates of
suicide, depression and drug use among transgender people and highlighted
the importance of the program. "It's really about safety. I want to save
kids' lives." He summed up, with a question, the reasons for such issues:
"What do you do when you have to hold back, when you're not sure what the
reception will be?" The slogan of the session was "I see you, I hear you, I
respect you," and much of the focus was geared toward traversing the stages
of acceptance of trans identities. He described these stages as "repulsion,
disdain, pity, tolerance, acceptance, support, nurturance and affirmation."
"The difference of where you are on this list," he explained, "is
Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs Sara Waldron explained her hopes for
the program. "It will. help people understand some of the barriers facing
transgender persons," she said. "I think moving toward becoming a more
inclusive campus has to do with raising awareness. That's true of any issue
whether it's class, race, disabilities, first-generation students or
veterans on campus."
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