Apr 16, 2015
Guest Post: Being Trans at MIT
(Danny here—a friend of mine reached out yesterday and asked if I could help let prefrosh know about their efforts. Their guest post is what follows, sans attribution as per their request.)
Hi everyone! This guest post is brought to you by two trans MIT students, with quotes from our peers. We wanted to share a snippet of our experiences and reach out to others like us. Hopefully you learn something!
(For anyone who doesn't know, trans generally means that your identified gender does not match the one that was assigned to you at birth.)
So we know highschool can be really awful and lonely, and maybe you spent lots of time just trying to get through it. But now that you're going to college you're going to have more freedom and fewer social pressures. It's a great time to discover who you are and who you want to be. As it turns out, MIT and Boston are great places to do this!
"Right now I identify as a cisgender queer woman, but when I first started college I was much less sure of my gender and gender presentation. I found MIT to be an incredibly supportive and welcoming place to work out what I was comfortable with and how I wanted to express myself to the world. During undergrad and even into grad school here I have known numerous trans students who feel comfortable being out to their peers, which to me is indicative of a community I have never been a part of elsewhere."
There are many people who are welcoming at MIT, but not everyone is very knowledgeable. While they are supportive, they may not be the most effective allies. It can be tough to feel comfortable in communities where you feel like the main educator.
"Even MIT can be rough. Not everyone knows what transgender means, and sometimes you're dealing with so much stuff and there's so much work that you just don't want to explain it."
At times like these, it is really helpful to have a place to go, where you know people already have some level of understanding. MIT's Rainbow Lounge is great for that. There are a lot of events at the Rainbow Lounge, or you can even just drop by during the day and chat with the staff there (they're very friendly). The GLBT@MIT student group also holds events where you can get together.
"It took a while of poking around different places and experimenting with how much I opened up before I found a place where I'm comfortable. And now that I'm here, I can really feel how different it is being with people who 'get' you... It gives me time to focus on other things, like my own emotional health or homework or other hobbies. I feel like I can grow more as a person."
In an effort to make this trans community-searching easier, we've started up a Facebook group for the incoming 2019s, here:
You should join it! Use it to find new friends, new roommates, and for support whenever you need it.
You should also come by this CPW, to any of the Rainbow Lounge or GLBT@MIT events! In particular, on Saturday 5-6pm, GLBT@MIT will be having Gender Chat Teatime. Show up to talk about gender and meet new people, or just to have some tea before Saturday night craziness comes around.
See you there!