GLBTA shifts perspectives on gender identity

There’s more to gender than most people think, members of GLBTA said.

The GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Allies) is an ASWSU committee that fosters support and education for the gender and sexually diverse WSU community.

Beginning Monday, the group will celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, a national event aimed at shifting perspectives on transgender people.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about transgender people, and so I think the goal is to clear up a lot of those issues,” GLBTA member Kathryn Nall said.

She said many people do not realize what life is like for transgender individuals.

Transgender Awareness Week is also about redefining how people think about gender, GLBTA Chair Connor Wolcott said.

“What does it mean to be transgender? What does it mean to be cisgender? Really, what is gender?” he said. “It’s a very progressive, different way of looking at things.”

Wednesday is national Trans Remembrance Day, which is dedicated to informing people about the daily struggles of ‘non-conforming’ gender groups.

A non-conforming individual is one who identifies outside of the gender ‘binary’ – men and women, boys and girls.

“I don’t think people understand how many people identify in the trans spectrum,” GLBTA member Kara Layton said.

Trans Remembrance Day works to educate the public through outreach and promotion.

“Because they make up such a small minority, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of misunderstanding,” Wolcott said.

The group embarked on a scavenger hunt Saturday in search of gender-neutral restrooms on campus, which Layton said are few and far between.

“And that brings up an entire other issue,” Wolcott said. “From a cisgender perspective, transitioning seems like an extra step.”

The GLBTA is petitioning the university to provide hormone replacement therapy as part of the student health insurance policy.

“A lot of other universities have their transition hormones included,” Wolcott said. “We’re putting pressure on CSHAC (Counseling and Student Health Advisory Committee) to make that happen here at WSU.”

The GLBTA will pass out informational fliers each day during the week in the CUB.

The group will hold panel discussion and vigil Tuesday in Todd 311, and screen the film Gun Hill Road at 8 p.m. Thursday in Todd Auditorium.