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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Transgender panel offers answers, insight”

Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Ask a Trans Person Anything Panel
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat Ask a Trans Person Anything Panel

What gender do you put down on job applications? How do you tell someone you are dating that you are a transgender person? These were some of the questions guests asked during the Ask a Trans Person Anything panel at the Wingspan Community Center, 430 E. Seventh St.

The panel on Monday night was held as part of Tucson Transgender Awareness Week, which is organized mainly by Wingspan, Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, and the UA’s ASUA Pride Alliance and Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

After introductions, the six panelists related the experiences and struggles of their personal transitions to another gender.

“”The process for me didn’t begin with my first shot. It began with having feelings that were stronger than the role I was playing.”” said Daniel Raven, 57, a panelist who began transitioning 16 years ago. “”I was very offended with my friends who would go, ‘Well, did you just wake up today and decide you want to be a man?'””

The other panelists shared similar anecdotes of where they struggled with defining their identities. Some, like Raven, sought transgender individuals for insight while others found guidance in memoirs, community groups and online resources.

Discussion and questions ranged from topics such as health concerns to confronting assumptions to personal relationships.

One guest asked what motivated each person to participate in the panel.

“”A lot of times you think you know what a transgender person looks like or who they are. If you’re able to ask these questions and we have the guts to present ourselves to the public, hopefully, for a couple of people in the room, it’s eye-opening,”” said panelist Jenison Silva.

“”We’re all in transition. You guys are transitioning every bit as much as we are. It’s just that you’re not going through a physical transition as we are,”” said Sarah Elizabeth McNeill, 51, a panelist who began her transition seven years ago.

After the panel, SAGA screened the film “”Esmeralda del Desierto”” by Oscar Jiménez, a local filmmaker and Wingspan anti-violence program manager.

The second Ask a Trans Person Anything panel will be held tonight at 6:30 in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. For a full calendar of events, visit www.deanofstudents.arizona.edu/LGBTQaffairs.

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