Students speak up about trans issues

by Arianna Shier, Staff Writer

The SDSU Pride Center held a panel titled “Trans-sending Barriers,” on Apr. 19 as part of SDSU’s third annual Trans Week of Empowerment.

The panel featured interdisciplinary junior Shane James, multicultural counseling graduate student Aiden Flowers and psychology senior Alex Ramirez as trans student speakers.

The panelists focused on barriers trans students have to overcome to succeed academically, mentally and socially.

“It makes me self-conscious going into office hours to get help,” Ramirez said. “I feel like I have to be better than everyone else since I will already be judged upfront.”

Ramirez said it is hard to focus in class when he has to go the bathroom and there are no appropriate bathrooms available.

The three also discussed the absence of mental health resources for transgender students.

Shane said he does not seek out certain resources because there is a lack of understanding and support for trans students.

“One of the biggest challenges has been finding support for my mental health and finding providers that are more competent with my intersectionalities,” Flowers said.

The panelists were asked how being a person of color has shaped their trans experience.

“When I’m in black-centered spaces, I feel like my trans identity is threatening because it is not understood in those communities,” James said. “It changes my interactions with people.”

Ramirez said as a Mexican-American, being trans makes him a minority within a minority.

Flowers said the intersectionalities of his identity has caused him to experience social stigma.

“I know what it feels like to be the most hated person in society,” he said. “Whatever I had to say was disregarded.”

The panelists concluded their discussion with advice for others in the trans community.

“You are not alone,” Flowers said. “You have an entire force behind you made of people who are fighting for you and fighting with you.”