On Monday, March 14, Xavier University hosted an event about transgender awareness. Unlike what students expected, guest speaker Jessica Lynn did not only discuss her tranistion, but mainly her legal battle to get coustody of her youngest son. Lynn is a transgender woman, who is a renowned public speaker who travels nationally. She offers Q&A sessions about the necessity of transgender awareness in our society.
Lynn transitioned after raising her three kids. “I did not want my child to be raised without a father. So, I put the transition behind. My child was my life,”she said. LeBryant Patrick, sociology professor at Xavier, organized this event in order to give Xavier students the opportunity to be educated about the LGBT community. Although the Gender Equity club has held various events surrounding the challenges of LGBT people, more faculty members have come together to educate students on this topic. “It’s time we have this conversation so that we can have a better understanding,” Patrick said.
In support of the event, president of the Gender Equity Club, Yasmine Secrets said, “I think students should attend this event because there is not enough awareness about the transgender community. People still treat it as a taboo topic. Especially with the uproar of Caitilin Jenner, this event will show a more real side of the journey of someone who is coming out as transgender and how her life is after coming out.”Lynn is not only a transgender advocate who travels as a public speaker, but also the president of Your True Gender, a nonprofit organization that educates different communities about transgender awareness.
Lynn spoke on her transitioning complications and opened a discussion about her journey. “We use my personal story to explain everything from psychology, sociology, law, medical, health education, and family relationships. It touches on so many subjects and I do it in a very personal way,” Lynn said. With this event being hosted as Xavier University, Patrick hopes that students will gain an appreciation for differences in people.“We’re not here to change their minds, we’re here to open their minds to accepting people for being different,” Patrick said.
“It’s not that we are promoting for variations of sexuality, but we want our students to be aware that there are people different from them. We want students to know they are here, they are not ignored, and that they are cared for,” he added.
Megan Osterbur, political science and women’s studies professor at Xavier, believes this event had to happen because Xavier is becoming more diverse. “The campus climate is changing and is opening up in ways that it hasn’t before, allowing Xavier to be a more diverse and inclusive campus,” said Osterbur. Patrick also sees no better time to start such awareness initiatives at Xavier.
“Change takes time, but it’s not inevitable. If we don’t try to understand those things now, then we will get left behind,” said Patrick. The most important take-away for students is to listen to narratives to get a better understanding of each other and themselves. “I specifically want to target college and university students as these are the country’s and the world’s next leaders, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and parents. I feel this is our best hope in changing the present and future and to end discrimination. When it comes to medical, I want our future doctors to learn how similar we all are and how to treat the trans population,” Lynn said.