Last Tuesday in the Virginia Dare Room, Carly Farrar, a junior social work major, discussed what defines gender during her “A Beginner’s Guide to Gender” presentation.
“There are as many genders as there are people on this planet,” Farrar said.
Farrar stated that gender was a social construct, and unlike the perceived binary of male and female, there is a spectrum of gender identities.
They hope to use her social work major in order to work with the LGBTQ+ populations, specifically the youth and those who have become homeless due to family unacceptance. They also want to open her own practice as a counselor.
Farrar additionally wants to work with the transgender community and stated that the medical care provided for the trans population is limited.
“They are overcharged, the surgeries are botched sometimes, and the process to getting hormones is difficult,” Farrar said.
Farrar talked about the importance of personal pronouns and believes that people should respect and use the term a person prefers.
“If someone requests to be called by one of these [pronouns], then we should respect that,” Farrar said.
The hopeful social worker said that using the incorrect pronoun will misgender a person and create a disconnect and a dysphoric atmosphere.
They explained that in safe settings, they prefer the term they or them.
“There is a privilege a lot of times with expressing physically how [sic] you liked to be called,” said Farrar.
The open forum discussed the difference between gender and biological sex, stating that the latter is the physical attributes and internal reproductive systems.
They further stated that there are variations of sex chromosomes and thus more than the known male and female gender identities.
The idea of gender roles can undermine those that deviate from the masculine and feminine assigned expectations.
“We need to see more education on this to sort of eliminate the rate of transphobia and the stereotypes,” said Jared Lawrence, junior English major.
Farrar talked about gender fluidity as being a wider and more flexible range of gender expression where there is no restrictive boundaries.
They included famous and openly gender-fluid individuals who have taken a stand such as performance artist and writer Alok Vaid-Menon, rapper and model Angel Haze and actor Ruby Rose.
Farrar stated that transgender can be an umbrella term to describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside the stereotypical gender norms.
They emphasized that “transgender” is an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth-gender. Farrar added that being transgender did not imply a specific sexual orientation.
“Not everyone wants to transition, and their identity is still valid,” Farrar said.
They also provided examples of famous transgender individuals such as journalist Janet Mock, actress and activist Laverne Cox and Marsha P. Johnson, who participated in the Stonewall riots, among others.
“It’s great that there are people going around to speak about it. I’m a fan of the presentation,” Lawrence said.
He also stated that the approach in educating about gender was done well because of the open forum, which allowed the audience to freely speak and include ideas.
The recent House Bill 2 signed by governor Pat McCrory was also brought into the discussion.
In response to arguments made for HB2, Farrar stated, “There is no statistical evidence that shows a transgender person harassing or attacking a non-transgender person in a restroom.”
In response to HB2, UNC-Greensboro has announced that it will provide unisex bathrooms across campus.
“A lot of times people expect people in the LGBTQ+ community to educate them, so [it’s helpful to] become an ally and taking the initiative by doing the research,” Farrar said.