“I was just getting fucking tired”
By: K. Goldfarb
Dani Figueroa, a genderfluid student, has been a victim of casual transphobia on campus. The transphobia often came from their lesbian, gay and bisexual cis-gendered peers who were apart of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Figueroa created the Gender Resource Group at the start of this semester, where transgender students would not have to suffer at the hands of their peers.
“The reason that I wanted to [start the group] now is because I was just getting fucking tired,” Figueroa said. “People are just mean and disrespectful to transgender people for no reason, like we literally do nothing, we’re just like ‘hey I’m a girl, hey I’m a guy, hey I’m neither,’ and people get so angry, it’s just insane.”
Figueroa is not alone. According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, trans people suffer from transphobia from childhood through old age. Before even graduating high school, 50% of those who were out had been attacked verbally, 25% were physically attacked, and 13% had been sexually assaulted.
According to CSI’s 2015 Campus Climate Survey, 1% of respondents marked their gender identity on the trans spectrum. Out of the 13,000 students on campus in 2015, 130 of them identify as transgender.
The LGBTQ Resource Center claims to treat all identities that fall under the LGBT umbrella equally, but some students have experienced otherwise.
“The Resource Center isn’t as inclusive to trans people as cis gay people,” said Harry, a non-binary student who graduated from CSI in 2020. “I don’t think they’re doing what they think they’re doing.”
Harry experienced transphobia at a CSI honor’s dinner where their name tag had their deadname and was announced instead of their real name. Deadnaming means using a trans person’s birthname that they don’t identify with anymore instead of their preferred name.
“It made me sad and angry because I specifically told them, and they didn’t listen,” Harry said. “Also, they only put my deadname on my diploma, so I can’t even hang it up.”
Figueroa was aware of the prominent transgender community at CSI and hopes that more will join the Gender Resource Group. It was conceptualized by Figueroa’s friend before the pandemic, and officially started by Figueroa.
There are currently about ten people in the Gender Resource Group, and the group is open to new members, whether they are trans or allies.
The club officers often suggest topics for the group to talk about. The members can also build community with each other and talk about anything on their minds, such as their mental health. The members can connect with each other in an environment where they don’t need to worry about transphobia.
The club officers are currently planning future events for the spring semester. An anonymous source said that there will be a mixer at some point with the Student Philosophy Club, and a possible event with the Japanese Visual Culture Club.
The group has recently requested a budget and is waiting for it to be approved. Most of the money will go toward film rights for a movie that will be shown during Black History Month.
The group had its first event on October 28th. There was a screening of the documentary Little Girl in the 1P-Lecture Hall followed by an interview with filmmaker Sebastien Lifschitz. The film is about a seven-year-old trans girl living in France.
The Gender Resource Group meets Tuesdays during club hours on Zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
“We’re just trying to make their college experience worth it,” Figueroa said. “If you’re just going to be dead named and be miserable the whole time you’re in college, what’s the point?”