Transgender Awareness


Kathy Lopez , Editor

At an early stage in our development in the womb our heart begins to thump. The blood courses through our premature veins and into the origin of our brain. At this point we are not aware of the realities of life. We are simply creatures of nature oblivious to ignorance. As the years progress, we come to realize that the purpose of human life is to acknowledge and accept; to not only approach each situation with an open mind but to understand that we are all  human. We are not perfect and we each have a battle to face that can either define us or empower us. But with this imperfection comes “flaws.”

In many occasions, the human race has found ways to put off living. To live in the darkness of unaccomplished dreams and desires for the acceptance of society. The oldest and strongest human emotion is fear of things that are different. Evil creeps out within us as we violate each other’s personal space, value, and differences. In the 21st century that we live in we are not only consumed by gender inequality, terrorism, or an imbalance in economic structures but an ignorance towards transgenders. For those unaware, a transgender is a person who does not identify, in terms of behavior and personality, with the sex they were assigned at birth. Shawn McMahon, who is known for working with wildlife conservation organizations,  is a gender non-conforming individual who came to acknowledge the lifestyle of a transgender in college.Before the interview McMahon stated that each experience regarding transgenders is distinctive to each individual. The following statements are based on his experiences alone.


  1. Can you tell me about your experience on being transgender.

I’ve been a gender non-conforming individual throughout my life but I did not know what transgender was until I got to college. There I met many trans* and gender nonconforming people and quickly started to truly experiment with my own gender. Late into my freshman year, I started going by the name ‘Shawn’ and asked a few select people to use male pronouns when talking to or about me. That being said, it took me another four years to legally change my name and another five years to start physically transitioning. All in all, it was a pretty ‘slow’ transition; I needed time to figure out who I really was and who it was I wanted the world to see. The hardest thing about taking such a long time to start physically transitioning was dealing with the constant societal reminders that I couldn’t possibly be a boy if my body looked the way it did. For example, “So you’re a boy? But you sound and look like a girl.” The stress surrounding social situations and public interactions often led to long periods of depression. Luckily, I had and still have an incredible support system; I owe a lot of my progress to my closest friends and family. Over six years after first coming out as trans*, I am finally living the life I always dreamed of living.


  1. How might the needs of transgender people differ from the needs of non-transgender LGB people?

This is a very loaded question. But for clarity, LGB are descriptions of sexuality where T is referring to gender identity and expression. However, many non-trans* LGB persons still live their lives presenting as gender variant, androgynous, etc. I think it’s important to focus on individual needs and less on generalizing the community as a whole. Until LGBTQ individuals can have their needs (healthcare, job security, acceptance, etc.) met in a safe and effective way, then we still have a lot of progress to make.


  1. How do you think awareness should be spread or is it being spread enough?

I believe we are already making great progress, but I do believe that for some individuals it will take a personal experience to truly understand. At this point in my life, I live ‘stealth’ or I ‘pass’ on a daily basis, but I still think it’s important for me to come out to certain people that I trust. These people that I come out to will learn something from me and then perhaps will teach others throughout their lives about what transgender means. Personal experiences can change perceptions for the better because, in the end, we are all human.


  1. Finally, there is a show called True Trans that will air soon, what is your opinion on shows that involve transgenders?

I fully support them as long as they’re done tastefully. I watched a few episodes of True Trans (I had never heard of it before) and thought it was very well done. I think it’s very important for role models like Laura Jane Grace to speak out and tell their personal stories.


This human being has conjured up the courage to speak about his experience. There are individuals just like him that are fighting a battle with society everyday. We must provide support for those in need because at the end of the day we are human. Just think….what if it were you?