Salt Lake Community College students were invited to attend a transgender forum last Tuesday in the Student Event Center of the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The purpose of the forum was to help develop an understanding of the transgender lifestyle and discuss diversity in the community.
The forum had a good turnout, with about 40 people in attendance. Students were in attendance for different reasons, some were there for a humanities extra credit, some were there out of curiosity.
“I’m here for extra credit for my humanities class,” Crystal Caldwell, Nursing student said.
“I find this interesting, my humanities teacher told me about it,” Samantha Ison, Health Science student said.
The forum began with a presentation by Jonathan Stowers about sexuality. Stowers is a faculty member at the college, he teaches Spanish, LGBT studies, (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-sexual) and literature. He began his presentation by talking about a man named Alfred Kinsey, who was an Entomologist and performed studies on sexuality in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
“Kinsey started the sexual revolution,” Stowers said.
Stowers informed the audience about Kinsey’s 1948 studies and 1953 studies. He talked about a list of things, which include; gender, under this topic he talked about how society dictates what men and women should be like.
“Society says that men should have short hair, and women should have long hair,” Stowers said.
He went on to talk about sexual orientation, sexual identification and practice, of which he said were all a matter of choice. On the topic of inherent feelings and attraction, he said that no one is able to explain how they work.
A panel was also in attendance, Katelyn Schwaar, former SLCC student, Jenifer Robinson, current SLCC Nursing student, and Dallas Ian, another former SLCC student. They told their personal stories of changing sexes.
Following the panel’s presentation, a question and answer period took place. The panel took turns commenting on the questions asked. One question that was asked was about transitioning, which is physically changing sexes and taking hormones. Each member of the panel talked about what they feared most about making the transition.
“It makes me happy to help other people to understand,” Robinson said.
The panel was also asked what the most important part of transitioning was, and they also talked about dating and relationships and relationships with children.
“I’m here because I was asked, and I think that awareness is important,” Ian said.
“I was asked to do it, so I said that I would help,” Schwaar said.
Coloring Outside the Lines, SLCC’s Gay/Straight Alliance club, sponsored the forum.
There is also an institute that addresses the subject; their web site is kinseyinstitute.org.