Trans*lations: Speaking of Friends

By Rosie Perry, Staff Writer

The week of Nov. 16 through Nov. 19 is Gender Awareness Week at EWU. On Nov. 17 Professor Laura S. Hodgman shared the story of an individual who has dealt with the struggles of being transgender.

Joe was born Jolene in the early 1950s and always knew he was meant to be a man. He used to dream about waking up and magically becoming a man. He would think to himself, “If I only wish hard enough maybe it will come true,” Hodgman said as she shared his words.

When Joe became a teenager his mother decided it was time to discuss menstruation. After hearing what was going to happen Joe said, “You’re kidding, I’m not doing that,” Hodgman said quoting Joe.

It was shortly after this that Joe’s parents sat him down to discuss his fascination with being a man. “Joe you’re never going to be a boy so just get over it,” Hodgman said quoting Joe’s parents.

Joe seemed to take this news rather hard but went about his life hoping that one day his wish would come true.

Not too much later in life Joe was prescribed anti-psychotics, underwent brain surgery, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and even spent some time in an institution.

After all of that Joe still identified himself as a man and underwent gender reassignment surgery.

Many of Joe’s friends and family were worried he would not be the same anymore, but Joe knew this was for the best. “I’m the same, just happier,” said Hodgman quoting Joe.

Joe struggled for much of his life but had the bravery and courage to do what he had to do in order to be happy. His story is just one of many individuals who struggle with being transgender.