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Wednesday, 26 January 2011 23:42

Exploring Gender: The Future

Written by  Cael

http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/ServPrivate/schools.gifAs the days pass, I keep thinking it is my last semester of college. I am about to go out and find my first real job, one with an actual salary instead of an hourly wage, one with people not necessarily my own age. I am about to leave the haven that has been my college experience, leave the place where above all, I feel comfortable and safe being who I am, no matter what that means. And it’s scary to realize I’ll be leaving, that this wonderful experience will be over.

I chose my college specifically for its accepting atmosphere. As a women’s college it has both lesbians and straights, gender queer women and transmen. In my time here, there have been no instances in which I have felt uncomfortable being myself. No one has ever come up to me to tell me God hates me or that I disgust them, and none of my friends have ever had those experiences on campus either. A friend who went to another college told me the other day her room was vandalized and she was threatened when she came out at school. She ended up leaving the school. It makes me so thankful for the environment and the acceptance the other LGBT people on campus and I have experienced here. I don’t think I am quite ready to leave this safe place, but I must be by May.

Before May, I hope to find a job teaching at a private high school. Finding a private school which is non-denominational is a hard process. My top choice right now does not discriminate on the “basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law in the administration of its educational, admission, scholarship or employment policies, or any other programs administered by the School.” It’s ok if I’m a lesbian, but what do they mean by gender? Sex? Or gender identity? They are two vastly different subjects. Does it mean that if I am hired, I must dress within the women’s faculty dress code, or would there be allowances for my gender identity? I really don’t know. And it worries me. It worries me that I might not be able to be who I am while doing something I love. The question becomes: Is the sacrifice worth it?

I want to become an educator. I want to teach, to learn each day through my students. And I want to be able to be there for them. Each LGBT teen needs someone they can trust, someone to talk to. I did not have that for a long time. I was too scared, of myself and what people would think of me. There was one out kid at my school, out of the whole high school, and I’m sure it was hard. I did eventually come out while in high school, but that is a hard thing to do. It is so much easier with the help of those who have been there, who have had to go through the same things. I want to be able to be there for those kids if they need me. Someone needs to be.

So at this point in time, based on all the knowledge I have, I keep thinking it would be worth it, just to be able to be there for those kids and to do what I love. But how can I go from this freedom to new constraints? What will that do to me while I am trying to find myself? Even if I do dress within a women’s dress code, what about the times outside of school? This is a small town.

I guess I am just trying to steel myself for the future. I don’t know what will happen, and I don’t quite know what to expect. But I’m going to follow my dreams, follow what I have always wanted to do regardless. I just don’t know how that will affect the discovery of self I started here.

I realized today it has been a while that I have been writing here, talking about gender issues through different lenses, giving advice, and trying to find myself. It is fun to sit here and just write, knowing I have an audience, that people care what I have to say, that they are going through the same things. I wanted to say thank you to you all for reading my column, for taking the time to click on Exploring Gender each week. I also wanted to remind you that I am here. You are welcome to message me or comment. Suggest some topics for future articles or ask me my opinion. Beyond trying to figure out who I am, I am here for you as a resource. So thank you for reading.

 

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Lezbelib is the online magazine that helps LGBTQ+ women to stay updated with entertaining blogs and breaking news about LGBT rights.