Q & A: GSA president addresses top topics facing transgender students

Uploader's note: GSA President is Albie Nicol

What can people do to better “adjust” to trans and transitioning people in the classroom?

I think the teachers can ask the student what they’d prefer. Not every student feels comfortable being out in school if they’re not out at home, for various personal and possibly safety reasons, so it really depends on the student and the comfort level with the transition and identity. The best thing teachers can do is be open to try new things and work together with the students to make each student feel safe and included.

Is it rude to ask transgendered students what they would like to be called? 

I personally don’t think it’s offensive. In my experience, most trans individuals would rather have you ask and then be informed, than go around using the wrong name and or pronouns.

What do you do if you do not know? 

If you don’t know if someone is trans or not, first things first: why do you need to know? Obviously you want to make people feel comfortable and safe, but if they haven’t told you, don’t assume. Ask the individual and not others if you absolutely need to know, or send an email and ask what pronouns and name to use. Just don’t make a big scene.

What does it mean for you to be LGBTQ+? 

For me, it means being accepting and  having a large community that all stand for the same thing — equality and equity. It means having people to fall back on at the end of the day who will understand you and support you.

How do you think the school and staff help or inhibit people going through a transition? 

I’m not sure about helping. I know the counseling office is a great source, but I think making a gender neutral bathroom that we don’t need a key for, that isn’t hidden away in a corner of the high school no one ever traffics, is the next step to make trans students feel like they have options for restroom usage. I think it was super cool of Mr. Wedgbury to let the GSA present to the staff, and I know that the teachers learned something. That was a step in the right direction, for sure.

How did you know you were not straight? 

I knew I wasn’t straight when I went to see “Newsies” on Broadway for the first time. I came out of the theater not sure if I wanted to be the newsies or marry them. Turns out it was both, and I came out as trans and bisexual about a year after that.

How have people reacted to your change?

I think people have positively reacted to me using Albie and he/him pronouns, and people have gotten really good at it, even the people I’ve known my whole life rarely have pronoun or name slips anymore.

The United States has come a long way, but what else would you like to see change?

I would like to see more bathroom options for trans students in school, and I would also like the Common Application and other college applications to have more inclusive language and easier ways for transgender students to show their true identity when applying. I would also like to see politicians becoming more accepting and inclusive of LGBTQ+ students and citizens. Oh, and I’d love to see a transgender president in the near future, or a major politician for sure.

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