Opinions

Editorial Board: An Apology to the Trans and Non-Binary Communities

On Sept. 19, TSL published a graphic_x000D_
entitled “Trans Vocabulary” that attempted to define and pictorially represent some_x000D_
of the major terms and descriptions of gender identities now accepted by the trans_x000D_
community._x000D_
As readers noted, the graphic was flawed in several respects. It contained_x000D_
inaccurate definitions that were not drawn from reputable sources. Furthermore,_x000D_
the diagrams oversimplified gender identities and insensitively reduced_x000D_
definitions of gender to symbols.

As a newspaper, we aim to report the truth. We_x000D_
seek to accurately and equally represent all members of our community. We_x000D_
failed to uphold these goals, a failure we deeply regret. Moreover, we_x000D_
apologize specifically for the harm we caused the trans and non-binary communities on campus_x000D_
by perpetuating the stereotypes that inflict daily violence upon their lives.

To avoid making similar harmful mistakes in_x000D_
the future, we are taking steps to educate ourselves, the rest of our editorial_x000D_
staff and our reporting staff about the best practices for providing accurate,_x000D_
sensitive and thoughtful coverage of trans issues.

We personally met with Queer Resource Center_x000D_
director Adriana di Bartolo and program coordinator Al Forbes to_x000D_
address the mistakes that we made and the steps we can take to move forward._x000D_
With gratitude for their counsel, we present below a more accurate list of_x000D_
definitions of the terms we printed in the graphic, and a list of resources for_x000D_
trans and non-binary individuals, as well as for students questioning their gender and those striving to be allies.

Moreover, we strongly encourage all members of_x000D_
the community to observe Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, an event to remember trans people who_x000D_
have died and to recognize the historical and continued violence perpetuated_x000D_
against trans people.  

None of these steps excuse the graphic that we_x000D_
published. However, we hope that we can be a better ally to the trans and non-binary communities, and to all_x000D_
marginalized communities on campus, going forward.

TSL is here for you. We are not an intractable,_x000D_
faceless entity. We are students who, despite our mistakes or failures, care_x000D_
deeply about all members of the community, and we encourage anyone who believes_x000D_
we have failed our community to reach out to us in person, via email, on Facebook_x000D_
or Twitter, or through the more formal mechanisms of a letter to the editor or_x000D_
Opinions column.

Definitions

The following terms were included in the Sept._x000D_
19 graphic. The definitions presented here have been revised to reflect current_x000D_
language used by the trans
and non-binary communities. This list is not_x000D_
exhaustive; there are many more terms used by people to describe their gender_x000D_
identity, and definitions are personal and could vary by individual. Make sure_x000D_
that you respect and use the terms that people use for themselves.

transgender: A term used by individuals whose gender identity or_x000D_
expression differs from conventional expectations for their assigned sex at_x000D_
birth. For example, someone who was assigned_x000D_
female at birth but identifies and lives as a man may describe themselves as a_x000D_
transgender man. Someone who was assigned_x000D_
male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman may describe themselves as a_x000D_
transgender woman. Trans is sometimes used as_x000D_
an umbrella term for any person who challenges the gender associated with their_x000D_
assigned sex at birth through their behaviors and/or the way they identify. Some members of the trans community prefer the umbrella term trans*. 

agender: A term used by an individual who feels they do not fall on_x000D_
the gender spectrum, are internally ungendered, or feel that they do not have a gender._x000D_
 

cisgender: A term used by an individual whose gender_x000D_
identity and expression aligns with that which was assigned to them based on_x000D_
their physical sex at birth. For example, someone assigned female at birth and_x000D_
identifies as a woman could be considered a cisgender woman.

genderqueer: A term used by individuals who_x000D_
reject the idea that there are only two genders and feel that they are neither_x000D_
man nor woman, but are between, beyond, or a combination of genders. Some, but_x000D_
not all, genderqueer people identify under the trans umbrella.

gender fluid: A term used by an individual whose gender_x000D_
identity and/or expression fluctuates.

bigender: A term used by an individual whose gender identity and/or_x000D_
expression is_x000D_
a combination of man and woman.

Sources: Al Forbes, the Queer Resource Center of_x000D_
the Claremont Colleges, the Gender Equity Resource Center at UC Berkeley, the_x000D_
Georgia State University and University of Georgia Safe Zone Facilitator_x000D_
Manual, and the GLAAD Media Reference Guide on Transgender Issues
 

Resources:

Education & Information

The Queer Resource Center of the Claremont Colleges — pomona.edu/administration/qrc

UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center — lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu

UC Riverside LGBTQIA Resource Center — out.ucr.edu

National LGBTQ Task Force — thetaskforce.org

Legal Support

Sylvia Rivera Law Project — srlp.org  

Transgender Law Center — transgenderlawcenter.org

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