Tag Archives: “Orange is the New Black”

Hearts Not Parts: A Transgender Perspective

Trans Awareness Week at CSUN begins on November 13 and continues through November 20. The goal is to inform and educate the community, because the word transgender and the group of people it represents are often misunderstood.

“Trans could be an umbrella term for anybody whose sex assigned at birth doesn’t match the gender identity of how they see themselves,” said Sarina Loeb, CSUN’s Pride Center coordinator.

Although there are various identities that fall under the term, some trans people are most comfortable not labeling themselves at all.

“When we’re thinking of gender we usually think of men or women, and I do not identify as either of those,” said Orion Block, Trans Awareness Week coordinator. “I’m not a big label person so I feel that I’m transcending gender by not buying into any of that.”

Explaining the different transgender sub groups, such as non-binary and gender-queer, is just one of the challenges the transgender community faces. How the community’s members want the world to identify them, and what pronouns to use when referring to them, are aspects of trans culture that are also misunderstood. While some trans individuals use pronouns such as “they” and “them” to refer to themselves in their daily lives, others use more complex pronouns.

“I use something a little different,” Block said. “I use ‘Zee’, which is actually Hebrew for referring to a non-binary person, and ‘Hir’, which is a combination of his and hers. There is ‘they’, and ‘them’, but some people just prefer to be called by their own names.”

Although it is important to have others identify a trans person appropriately, Loeb said it’s more important how someone self-identifies.

“It started getting easier in college when I found out more about the trans community,” said Mar Pascual, CSUN student and transgender person. “Self-identifying was really stressed by so many people, and I thought that was really incredible: the ability to decide who you want to be instead of being forced in boxes that have been spelled out by so many people. That freedom was really great for me.”

Although the LGBTQ community has been unrepresented or misrepresented in the media, recent portrayals of the transgender community have been fairer. The transgender community has received increased exposure recently; most notably, “Orange is the New Black” has starred transgender actress Laverne Cox.

“There have been representations of trans people,” Pascual said, “but they’ve been mostly demeaning representations. They’ve mocked the community or used really derogatory terms that perpetuate the idea that trans folks are unworthy of being respected, and it’s ultimately really harmful to the community. It’s really refreshing to see shows like ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Transparent’ kind of give a more accurate portrayal of trans people.”


Moderator: Andrea Bautista

Producer: Robert Zamora

Anchor: Roy Azoulay

Reporters: Courtney Wallace and Strongman Osom

Social Media Editors: Laura Camelo and Calsey Cole

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