Throughout this semester, I have learned about so many types of people and identities that I didn’t know existed. At Indiana University, I am a Gender Studies minor and through this minor, I have been exposed to all types of gender and sexuality issues. From feminist debates to the differences between sex and gender to now transgender rights/issues, my understanding of what falls under the term of human sexuality has broadened considerably. I have been exposed to the problems that categorization provides and now know that our old female and male gender binary is definitely not working for all types of people, societies, gender variances, and sexual expressions that exist. This class in particular has taught me not to focus on categorizing people who don’t fit into this binary into a huge umbrella term that really doesn’t solve the issue of classification; it has taught me instead to embrace differences in gender and sexuality and to identify a person by what they choose to self-identify as.
Besides learning about how sexuality and gender variance is expressed in the western world, I have learned about how it is expressed in the non-western world. The documentaries we watched about the trans sex workers in Paris from the one about Iranians struggling to gain equality through sexual reassignment, really opened my eyes to the struggles that people in the non-western world have to go through. I have also learned that the terms and categorization that the west has created definitely does not always work in a non-western setting; in some cases, non-western settings are more accepting of trans people than we are.
By examining the way in which the west vs the non west treats gender variance, I have been forced to realize that the United States isn’t as progressive as it thinks it is. We as Americans have a duty to open up the country’s eyes and realize that many laws discriminate against not only race and gender, but also sexuality. We should feel more outraged and concerned over these discrepancies in the law and I hope that one day, more and more people will feel the desire to study these issues in university just like we do and that more universities will offer courses on them. Although this class may not have made me turn into an activist, it has made me more aware and more concerned over the plight of inequalities that exist for trans individuals and that much more needs to be done; I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to take it and have had my eyes opened to more possibilities.