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The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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TransAction teaches students how to be a good transgender ally

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The Appalachian Online

Appalachian State University’s Feminist Student Union held a meeting in which members of TransAction spoke on issues such as how to be a good ally to transgendered individuals and what members of the Boone community can do better.

TransAction is an all-inclusive university group for those who identify as transgender, transsexual, intersex, gender queer/variant, gender-fluid, questioning and allies, according to glbt.appstate.edu.

About 35 people were present at the 7:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

Justis Tucker, sophomore social work major and the union’s founder said exclusionary feminism is not tolerable. The examples of women of color, lesbian women, transgendered women and others were given.

“Historically, feminism has been exclusionary to lots of different groups of people,” Tucker said. “Throughout the second-wave feminist movement, trans people and gender non-conforming folks experienced hate speech, violence and exclusionary things from people all in the name of ‘feminism.’”

One who practices feminism that is not inclusionary to those who are transgendered can be labeled as a “terf,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

“The thing with terfs is that they actively campaign against trans folks,” said Gael Senter, one of the three members of TransAction to speak to the Feminist Student Union. “It actively sets back feminism.”

Virginia Marshall, an additional member of TransAction, said one of the first steps in becoming more aware of behavior that might not be friendly toward transgender people is to simply watch the language being used.

“Watch yourself, watch the things that you say, and examine them,” Marshall said. “It takes time, I still slip up from time to time.”

Senter added additional tips Appalachian students and Boone community members can specifically adjust to in order to be a better ally.

“Introducing yourself with your pronouns, making things a safe space and not outing trans people that you know,” Senter said. “Using the right pronouns and using the right name in the right situation.”

Aidan McDonald, member of TransAction, added his allyship suggestion in that it is important to not use gender slurs or defend those who use them.

Senter said situations, such as the start of new classes, can be an anxious time period.

“From the trans perspective, going into a new situation you don’t know who is going to be there and who is not going to kill you,” Senter said. “So it can be a little nerve-racking to give them a name they’re not expecting.”

Story: Nicole Caporaso, Senior News Reporter

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