Monday, November 28, 2011
Star of Davida Essay Contest Winner: Christina P
As a child, I was largely a tomboy. I begged my parents to let me play hockey, refused to let my mom dress me in “girly” clothing (anything pink or that had flowers), and racked up more scars on my body than I could count. I was also largely a stereotypical little girl. I had two trunks full of dress up clothes (which was the only time being “girly” was acceptable), I had at least a dozen boxes full of Barbie and her friends, and I filled the empty hole in my heart where hockey might have been with dance classes and gymnastics. As you might guess, I definitely learned about gender roles very early on because I encountered a lot of things I couldn’t do because it wasn’t considered appropriate for my gender. Because of this, I was quick to latch onto feminism. A movement that told me that I could do whatever I wanted and that my gender was no reason to be held back? I couldn’t have been happier.
In addition to my feminist philosophy, I have also been an advocate for the LGBT+ community, which is a community I began to identify with the more I came to accept and understand my sexuality. Slowly there emerged a middle ground between feminism and the LGBT+ community, and as it became clearer to me I learned about the transgendered community. Unlike discrimination based on sexual orientation, transgendered people face it based on their gender identity, and this is because we are uncomfortable with people expressing styles of dress, behaviors, etc. that aren’t stereotypical of the gender that we (unfairly) assign them along with their sex. In other words, it’s largely because of gender norms and roles that we’re expected to adhere to. I’ve now devoted a lot of time (and by a lot of time I mean an entire research proposal paper on the self-esteem of transgendered youth and another research paper that explores that injustices that transgendered people face) to learning about how these gender roles play a part in all of our lives.
As a psychology major, I was always intent on using my acquired skills and knowledge in order to play a part in making people’s lives better. After having immersed myself in two communities that have played a large role in shaping me (I attribute feminism to making me passionate and caring whereas the LGBT+ community has helped me come to accept myself), I have now come to better realize what more I can do. After I finish my undergraduate work, I hope to eventually end up in a PsyD clinical psychology program with a focus in gender identity and sexual orientation. I want to primarily work in the LGBT+ community in hopes that being a feminist and gender equality activist will have also given me an understanding in sexuality and gender.