Photo by Melanie Boughn/The Commuter.

“Gender Revolution”: FCC community gathers to discuss film about gender identity

Earlier this semester, students, parents, and community members of FCC gathered to witness a film and discussion of what would truly be a “Gender Revolution.”

On Sept. 6, FCC was able to host a screening of National Geographic’s new film titled “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” about how attitudes toward sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation have evolved within the past few decades. It was a journey through time and how the overall perspective on gender has developed to a complex concept.

After the film, GSA (Gender- Sexuality Alliance) president Dereck Myers and GSA member Sam Howell led a panel of discussion with the crowd. This included topics such as local schools, bullying, and overall struggles in society within the transgender community.

“I think the film tried to satisfy all people” said Jill Schultz, a sociology professor at FCC.

Schultz was referring to a segment of the film that related transgender identity to the brain’s physiology. According to the film, some medical studies have individuals who identify as transgender tend to have similar brain scans to one another than to those who identify as cisgender (a person who identifies with the sex they were given at birth). However, the studies are still vague at this time.

“Brain scans are dangerous,” Schultz said. “Are they valid studies?”

Issues regarding the transgender community surround us every day. Not only in our schools, but within a much bigger perspective, such as the number of transgender people murdered every day.

“It’s hard to pay attention to these issues because it’s hard to find the mentality,” Myers said. “These people were murdered because they were trans in the first place, but when they are people of color, [the murders receive less attention].”

As the film shows, gender is evolving and more and more studies are proving that people are more willing to understand the gender spectrum.

“As time goes on, we are going to have parents that are less pressed on the gender binary,” Howell said. “They will allow children from a young age to express their gender identity and I think that’s really important.”

Another current event discussed at the discussion was the policy FCPS passed early last summer to protect transgender students within the public schools. This means allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their identity, playing on sports teams that align with it, and so on. The policy has received some negative feedback, including being targeted by a nationally recognized hate group, as well as a law-suit within the county.

Nicola Van Kuilenburg, mother of a transgender student, was also in attendance at the FCC discussion. Van Kuilenburg is an activist in the community who shared how others can show their support within Frederick County.

“We want to fill Frederick with ordinary Frederick people, students, teachers and parents that we will not tolerate this in our country,” Kuilenburg said. “We want to send a strong message that we will not stand any kind of hate in our county.”

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