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  • Yaicha Ocampo

Sweet like a Rose, Strong as a rock

Coastal Carolina University is an institution that prioritizes a campus of diversity, such as having students from various states, ethnicities and sexualities.

But, is CCU as inclusive for all genders?

Gender is a social identity—not biology. Typically, if one is born with male genitalia, they are raised masculine and vice versa.

How we define masculine and feminine is based on societal expectations, such as gender roles.

Transgender is a term used to describe a person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

The word itself is not a noun—it is an adjective, an identity that describes someone.

By saying “the transgenders” instead of "the transgender community," is the same as saying “the gays” or “the blacks.”

Whereas, cisgender is a term used to describe people who identify with the gender they were assigned.

It is important to ask trans-individuals their preferred name and pronouns.

Rose Strong, a transwoman at CCU, prefers “she/her” pronouns. Transwomen are born male, but identify as a female.

It is inappropriate to ask trans-individuals about their intentions for surgery or hormones, but Strong wanted to share her experience.

“I am not transitioning with hormones," said Strong. "That’s partly why I wanted to be interviewed—to share a different experience from the norm.”

The transgender community faces many hardships, such as depression and suicide.

According to the U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, in 2016, 32 to 50 percent of trans-individuals attempted suicide. Individual justifications vary, but there is one underlying cause: the oppression of one’s true self.

“Just basic human rights,” said Strong. “We’re lumped in with gay people and other sexual orientations, but they don’t fight just to use a bloody bathroom.”

The discourse of social issues may be intimidating to some; the terminology specific and sometimes complicated and hard to navigate. As long as you are genuinely listening and trying to understand, then you cannot be faulted for confusing terminology. Offense words like “tranny” and “shemale,” though, is a degrading, vulgar term that is not acceptable in any way.

The R.I.S.E. program, or Residents in Solidarity for Equality, is a recent development in housing that aims at providing a safe and inclusive community.

According to Coastal’s website, "The purpose of the community is to create a safe space for all persons regardless of their social identities markers such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and ability.”

The goal of this initiative is an admirable one because a common obstacle for those who do not fit into the social norm is “coming out,” or accepting and expressing who you truly are in the public sphere.

Strong has had a positive experience with her transition at CCU.

“Myrtle Beach isn’t the most accepting of places, but Conway, more specifically Coastal, it really is.”

(Credit: Role Reboot)

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