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Transgender students find acceptance at Doane

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Sohomore Bosie Rand said he he would not have come to Doane if it he had not felt it was accepting.

Sophomore Bosie Rand understood that he was non-binary at age 16.

“I don’t see myself as a man or a woman,” Rand said. “And that’s where I leave it at.”

Rand marveled at the fact that it has been six years since he had come out as non-binary, a transgender identity, he said.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality website, non-binary is a gender for those who do not fit the categories of male or female. The National Center for Transgender Equality also said non-binary was also used because our society tends to use only two genders which means it is binary and this means that those that do not fall into those two genders are non-binary.

While some public and private schools might not be as accepting for transgender and non-binary students, Doane is different, Rand said.

“I’m in the theatre department,” Rand said. “When I first spoke to them that I am non-binary I asked if that was going to be a problem in this department.”

If the theatre department responded poorly, then he wouldn’t have attended Doane, especially since he wants to write plays about non-binary people, he said.

The theatre department and the professors on campus were accepting and reassured him that this was a good thing for him, he said.

The U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), which is the largest survey examining the experiences of transgender people in the United States, showed where Nebraska stood among all other states, according to transequality.org.

Nebraska has 165 individuals out of the nationwide survey of 27,715 respondents, who identify as transgender or came out as transgender. The survey showed for individuals in school:

  • Between Kindergarten and Grade 12, 77 percent experienced some form of mistreatment: verbal harassment, not being allowed to dress as their gender, were disciplined on harsher terms, or were physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgendered.
  • 57 percent of those (K-12) students were verbally harassed, 11 percent were physically attacked and 11 percent were sexually assaulted between kindergarten and grade 12.
  • 26 percent had such severe treatment that they left school between the grades of K-12.
  • 16 percent of respondents who were in college or vocational school were verbally, physically or sexually assaulted because of being transgendered.

The USTS also shows that there is a growing acceptance and support of transgender and non-binary individuals from their family (60 percent), students/peers (56 percent), and coworkers (68 percent).

Rand said he had come out to friends when he first knew but he didn’t come out to his parents until he was 18.

“My family definitely reacted a lot better than other families,” Rand said. “They were never upset or angry with me, they were confused. But confusion, that’s something you can work with.”

Rand says the pronouns he would like others to use for him are "they, them, their, he and him" since he does not identify necessarily as a male or female.

Freshman and non-binary student, Grace Su, said that Doane handles gender pretty well.

“There have been a few people that don’t really get it yet,” Su said. “But no one has been violently transphobic, at least not to my face.”

Su wants people to understand sex and gender are two different things, he said.

“Sex is given at birth on the type of reproductive organs a person has, and gender is how you think about yourself under society’s expectations,” Su said.

Sophomore and non-binary student, Oliver Hofaker, is involved in the Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) which started in 2016.

Any student who wants to be involved in the organization can contact the adviser, Community Director Robert Sharp.

Hofaker said that they (QSA) want to create an educational setting to inform people about the LGBT community because "ignorance breeds fear."