Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boxers or Briefs

So, a number of my teammates love to wear boxers. I'm not exactly sure why, but they love them. Of course, a number of lesbian women also love to wear boxers, and since a good proportion of my teammates are lesbians, it figures that a healthy number of them would prefer boxers.

After a few of us had brunch in the Castro, we walked along Market on our way to another destination. Somehow we got on the conversation of underwear, and my teammate walking closest to me says she wears boxers. I ask her why so many of our teammates wear boxers. What does it do for them? Men wear them because it is supposedly healthier for sperm, but what does it do for girls?

She said she just liked wearing them and that she found comfort in them. She said her mother didn't quite understand but just kinda accepted it.

"I'm not one of those transgender, I just like wearing boxers," she said, reinforcing her diverse gender expression. "I mean, I like wearing masculine clothes, and I love my bra. I just love my boobies."

"'re a cross-dresser," I said jokingly.

"Haha! Yeah, I guess I am."

San Francisco Student Survey Report

A few months ago, I caught an article about a survey on San Francisco LGBT students. This survey basically asked students about their sexual orientation and gender identity, along with a number of questions concerning their social interactions.

The report is quite eye-opening, and I'm surprised that it didn't receive more national recognition. It reports, based on student surveys, that approximately 12% of students have seriously considered suicide while more than twice (27%) of the lesbian, gay, or bi students have. Double that percentage again (54%), and you get the number of transgender students that have seriously considered suicide. That number is just astounding, and shows just how hard transgender students can have it...and we're talking just San Francisco schools...not somewhere out in the middle of a red state. This is about San Francisco students!

When I talk on LGBT panels, I usually quote the fact that queer youth have basically double the suicide rate of non-queer youth, and that trans-youth have a higher percentage than the queer youth. This number is amazing, though, that basically half of transgender youth have seriously considered suicide. Now, while no one can confirm suicide rates for trans and queer youth simply because often times we don't know why people kill themselves, this report gives solid numbers to something many have been saying for a long time. It's not easy being queer or trans, and most of time the pressure comes from their peers or family.

Another section talks about how safe the students feel at school. Seven percent of hetero-students have skipped school because they felt unsafe. The number jumps up to 11 percent for LGB students and an amazing 56 percent for transgender students that say they have stayed away from school because of fears for their safety.

One of the biggest things I have seen recently is the push for people not to use "That's so gay", which can and does affect queer and trans-youth. I've seen all types of people use that phrase, and in many situations, it is harmful to queer and trans-youth because it encourages verbal bullying. The hardest part is that people say this without even realizing the harm they are creating...and it's basically spread as a socially accepted phrase in our society.

When I talk on the panels (and if there is time), I like to discuss how best to be a queer or trans ally. One of the best ways, I tell them, is to just create conversation and dialogue about the panel discussion.

I would say, "Go home and tell your parents, family, or friends about the interesting people and topics that we discussed tonight. And be there with open arms should anyone ever need to talk about anything. Tell them you'll be there to listen and not judge."

One at a time, we can make a huge difference in this world.

The full San Francisco Unified School District report

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The End (April Fools)

After much thought and deliberation, I've decided to discontinue the blog and remove all content. I figure it's time for me to move on with whatever else there is in life and let the next generation blog about their experiences. May the future treat them well!