LGBTQ+ community tenses while Trump works to redefine gender

Kavi Ade, a transgender arts educator and nationally recognized spoken word poet performed his poetry in McCarthy last Thursday for “Out Week.” PHOTO BY KATHERINE MARTIN

By Hannah Wilmot

The Trump Administration is working to define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, as of October 21. This redefines gender after the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender, recognizing it as a choice, rather than an assignment, according to the New York Times.

Abigail Griffin ’20 is fearful of the new proposal by Trump. Her brother, Lucien Griffin, is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is transgender.

“He came out to me when he was a freshman in high school,” said Griffin.“Although he is not the best at expressing his feelings, when he first heard this (consideration) on the news, he felt worried and he felt that his right to exist was being threatened.”

Griffin has seen her brother deal with a lot of problems from others who have had issues with Lucien being himself. She worries that this setback will erase all of the hard work her brother has gone through.

Transgender refers to a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. There are an estimated 1.4 million Americans who do not identify with the sex they were born into who this would impact, according to the New York Times.

Most people have a gender identity of a man or a woman, According to the GLAAD. But for some people, their identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices.

“One’s immediate reaction frequently is total outrage that this would even be up for consideration,” said Shelley Vermilya, a professor of Gender Studies. “Trump is on record that he would do anything he could to support the LGBTQ+ community earlier and now he is doing just the opposite. He is doing such tremendous damage in this country.”

“I don’t think that he (Trump) can erase us. I don’t think that he can change the laws at his whim. There are a lot of people working for justice and for social equity so I think if anything, all this does is stir up a lot of conversations and hopefully for the better,” added Vermilya.

Erich Seeger ’19 commented that the move is absolutely political. “To be honest, I don’t think 90 percent of any politicians actually care about this issue, it’s just a way to get votes,” said Seeger.

“After the initial reaction, I focused more on the ridiculous idea of attempting to give a word such a concrete definition, especially a word regarding gender. I do not think it (the consideration) will go through,” Seeger said.

Meanwhile, Common Ground celebrated “Out Week” last week on campus with multiple events surrounding gender and sexuality. Kavi Ade, an arts educator and nationally recognized spoken word poet, taught a poetry class as well as performed his own poems last Thursday.

People who are transgender may describe themselves using one or more terms including transgender, transsexual, trans, transgender man, transgender woman, and so on. Whenever it is possible, always ask what pronoun a person would like to be called.