How to be Trans

It always comes as a surprise to me when I hear of discrimination within the LGBTQIA+ community. I assumed that a group of marginalized and discriminated people would stick together, having experienced social exile and not wanting to again. But then I hear someone say, “They’re too masculine/feminine to be Trans”/”They must be faking it”/”How can they say they’re Trans if they’re not…” and I’m floored at the close-minded words of a seemingly progressive concept.

What is the correct way to be Trans?

There isn’t one right way to be Trans just like there isn’t one right way to be any other letter in the acronym. Saying that someone can’t be a Trans-man because he performs femininely is like saying that a woman can’t be a lesbian because she isn’t butch and loves makeup or that a man can’t be gay because his voice is too deep.

The way that someone chooses to perform does not validate or invalidate the way they wish to identify.

The LGBTQIA+ community is filled with people who don’t fit into the Cis-normative/heteronormative boxes that society has constructed. Society said that marriage is between a man and a woman, a heteronormative belief. Lesbian and Gay individuals subvert this. Society says that men have penises and XY chromosomes while women have vaginas and two X chromosomes. The existence of transgender and non-binary individuals subvert that. It shows that there isn’t one way to be a certain gender. You can be a man with curves, with fat on your chest, and with a higher pitched voice. You can be a woman with facial hair; you can be neither on the simple basis that it’s comfortable for you. Gender and the way that it is received in society was created to restrict and label in a way that created hierarchies in our society (i.e. women as the weaker sex to keep them in the home). So why is there a correct way to be Trans? Why put someone in a category that the LGBTQIA+ community was created to resist?

If a Trans-woman says she’s a woman, she’s a woman. You have no right to tell her what she is and isn’t, just as she has no right to do the same to you.

The LGBTQIA+ community was created as a place where an individual could be themselves un-apologetically, a place where they’d be embraced for their differences and spectrum of identity. Invalidating an identity because it doesn’t fit what society says it should be is doing nothing more than participating in the oppressive system that created the need for the community in the first place.

 

 

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Mariam Bagadion is a second year student at SCSU double majoring in Women’s Studies and English. She has a passion for writing and social justice and thinks the coolest thing in the world is when the two can be combined. In her free time, she writes fiction, watches Netflix, and plays one of the three songs she knows on the ukulele.

(Feminist) Thoughts on the March

Just after the Women’s March on Washington, Carly Puch (one of our own!) wrote on her own blog about her experience participating in the march.

She brings together a thoughtful perspective on the empowering heart of the march, critiques of its unmistakable whiteness, and what both of those things mean for the kind of work we have, as feminists, ahead of us.

Here’s an excerpt…

There are improvements to be made, and particularly we white feminists can do better but what these marches symbolized was that recognition. More women are mobilized because for many it is the first time their rights are truly being threatened, whether that be attributed to their race, their class, their age or any other factor that has allowed them to turn a blind eye to injustice. Human rights campaigns in this country have been built on the backs of people of color, do not silence them, but listen and learn to those who have been fighting before you.

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The kind of work we have ahead of us must not be forgotten or ignored: it must be thoughtful. We must strive to love each other, build bridges between those of us with vastly different experiances, and act beyond our fear to achieve things which may seem impossible.

What do you think?  Let us know here on the blog or write us at collectivefeminism@stcloudstate.edu

Feminism: The 2016 Edition

Reasons we still need feminism,

And More Importantly…Intersectional Feminism,

The 2016 edition

  • Because I had colleagues who said we should be happy Brock Turner got any time at all for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster…

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  • Because of 49 victims in Orlando, who were murdered for being part of the LGBT community…
  • Because…Brexit…
  • Because, in 2016, Hollywood still puts white people in movies instead of people of color…just because “it sells”…
  • Because “Make America White Again” is an ACTUAL campaign slogan…on an ACTUAL billboard.

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  • Because #OscarsSoWhite was a hashtag…two years in a row…

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  • Because the Supreme Court still has to stop lawmakers from banning abortions… 

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  • Because…Bathroom bills…
  • Because Donald Trump is the Republican candidate for the Presidency.

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  • Because the media only uses the word “terrorist” when describing people of color…

 

 

melissa-anne-frankMelissa Anne Frank is majoring in both Women’s Studies and English Rhetoric at St Cloud State University.  She plans on continuing her education with a Master’s degree and then a Doctorate.  Melissa is a white, cisgender, pansexual who is proud to be part of the Social Media team at the St. Cloud State Women’s Center.  Melissa also writes a personal blog called Musing with Melly on WordPress. Melissa loves reading, writing, video games, spending time with her partner and two children, and crushing the patriarchy! 

Starved for Skin

In flickering eyes

Is the glow of a smoldering fire
They are sizing us up

My body transforms, a whirlwind
A temple for worship
To a stage for performance

All eyes are on me
Shadows flickering on the walls
Whispers scattering
Hurried footsteps down the hall

Their lips glisten in the dark
A shred of light
Despite the darkness trapped inside

Grumbling stomachs
Resonating like heart beats
Growling for me

They are starved
For my skin
Ravenous

For to them
I am nothing more
Than meat

 

grace-espinozas-blog-pictureGrace Espinoza is a junior undergraduate student at SCSU, majoring in Social Work. Grace works at the Women’s Center and the American Indian Center on campus. Grace is a straight, Mexican Portuguese/white woman with a passion for social justice, feminism, and poetry. She has been a published poet several times beginning in the seventh grade and is honored to contribute to Collective Feminism.

 

Reflection from the Post-Production of That Takes Ovaries

By Ruth Sybil May

A few weeks ago, I participated in the feminist play titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Women, Brazen Acts by Rivka Solomon and Bobbi Ausubel; of which I was a cast member. The play is an adaptation of the book similarly titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts, edited by Rivka Solomon. The framework of the book/play is a collection of true stories submitted by ordinary people recounting an experience in which they acted of courageously and bravely, told through first-person narratives. The play was organized by recruiting a cast of diverse community members to enact these true stories on stage in front of an audience, mixing activism with performance art in a way that is humorous, yet serious and inspiring at the same time.

Within the play, I played the part of Drake, a young, transgender man on a path of self-discovery and emotional bravery. During his scene, Drake works up the courage to come out to his mother as transgender despite knowing his mother would not react well. After sharing his truth, his parents are apprehensive at first, but soon do their research so they can better support and love their son no matter what, bringing their family even closer together than before.

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Special Edition: Critiquing the Critique

Women on Wednesday is a critical program with a rich, 26 year history of highlighting the voices of diverse, intelligent, savvy and  creative people, especially women working to end sexist oppression and promote a safe, inclusive and engaged community through advocacy, education, alliance-building and women’s leadership.

On March 30th, the Women’s Center hosted Vednita Carter and Joy Friedman from Breaking Free, one of the nation’s leading organizations for working with victims and survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution, at a Women on Wednesday session titled “Sex Trafficking 201: Dynamics of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking.” We’re excited to report a record-breaking audience of 157 for this engaging presentation from two survivors about the realities of the sex industry and the experiences of prostituted women. (Follow this link to listen to an audio recording of the session and hear their powerful stories yourself!)

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Feminist Frequency Video

Good day!

FeministFrequency is a great outlet for folks who are interested in pop culture and sexism!  Anita Sarkeesian is a “media critic and creator of Feminist Frequency.”

Last week, Feminist Frequency released a new video in “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” a series that looks at some of the ways that women are portrayed in the prominent culture of video games.

 

Take a look at their website too!  http://feministfrequency.com

Plus, Anita Sarkeesian will be at Minnesota State University, Mankato this Monday April 11th, at 7pm, for the 12th Annual Carol Ortman Perkins Lecture.  This lecture is presented by our fellow Women’s Center at Mankato State.  Here is a link to the event https://www.facebook.com/events/1038093112895537/  and a link to the Women’s Center website!  http://www.mnsu.edu/wcenter/

Scrutiny

Emma Watson, Beyonce, Amy Pohler, and Amandla Stenberg.  These women enjoy fame in today’s society.  Each of these women also provide a great role model to women and girls in terms of reaching out with feminism to better the world for women everywhere.  And yet, what I see in magazines and media coverage mostly is someone reporting about their hair, their looks, their clothing.

The scrutiny of women in the media is extremely pervasive.  Have you ever taken a look at some pictures from awards shows?  A reporter might mention the designer of the tuxedo a man is wearing, but they certainly don’t pick apart the choices he makes for his hair, clothing, or jewelry.  A woman is posed and paraded from the time she steps onto the carpet, and then each choice she makes is dissected by a panel of people, the so called “fashion police.”

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Open Letter to SCSU Community

To the St. Cloud State University campus community:

On March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that is fundamentally about autonomy, one’s ability to freely determine what is best for their health without interference, and access to the safe, and legal health care that meets individuals’ self-identified needs. This case challenges laws that restrict abortion access under the guise of concern for the health and safety of patients but are truly political ploys to limit the accessibility of abortion care. The outcome of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt affects us all: it will change the realities of abortion access for decades to come: either by finding undue restrictions unlawful, or forcing clinics to shut down, and subsequently, people to seek alternative and unsafe abortion services.

Despite clarity from the Supreme Court that people have a constitutional right to abortion, states continue to pass laws that limit women’s access to abortion care through a variety of tactics, including:

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. : A Feminist Role Model

By Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who writes about feminism and  Nigerian history. She hails from Enugu in Nigeria and is a powerful leader in feminist culture, shining a light on marginalized people.

I see Chimamanda Adichie as a role model and a woman of strength. I look up to her for several reasons, the first being that she is from Africa. People do not see African writers often in American culture, so I see her as a gem. In America, people focus on white American writers, but there are many great people of color who are writers, and people should be experiencing a myriad of writing.  She’s also very well educated, and that reminds me that my education is important, too. The third reason I see her as a role model is that she is a great writer, and I love to write myself. Adichie writes about feminist issues and she focuses on racial issues, too. For example, my favorite book from all her writing is called Half of a Yellow Sun.

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