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Transgender activist shares personal struggle with gender identity

first_imgSaint Mary’s department of gender and women’s studies and the psychology department hosted Meghan Buell, a transgender woman who shared her experiences at Dalloway’s Clubhouse on Wednesday. Buell, who is the founder of Trees, Inc., a non-profit organization that brings education and resources about trans issues to small towns in the Midwest, said she grew up in a small town in Indiana and she spent 35 years struggling with her gender identity.“One of the toughest aspects of my personal journey is not finding, or not even knowing how to find someone who was like me,” Buell said. “When I had an experience or a curiosity or something happened in my life that didn’t fit in to what I was being shown around me as the binary and male gender, I kind of said ‘All right. I don’t know what that is, but I’m going to put it up in my head and not worry about it and not think about it.’”Buell said she searched the Internet to find other people like her, and spent five years reading biographies of other transgender people before she was able to self-identify as transgender.Monica Villagomez Mendez | The Observer “I have been described by a lot of my friends and people here in the community and the area as the most out and proud trans person they’ve ever met,” Buell said. “I’m just Meghan and I’m just living my life and I’m doing it the way I feel is best for me.“I hope other people realize it’s okay to be yourself and beat to your own drum and go about life in the best way you can and not let others push you into boxes and push you into a way of living,” she said. “Do it for yourself; it’s your life. Enjoy it and do it the way you want.”Buell emphasized that the journey for each transgender person is different. “For every trans person that speaks, the audience needs to remember this is just one trans person speaking,” Buell said. “The trans community is made of very diverse, very unique individuals, and every journey is their own and unique to them. I can tell you things about being in the trans community that are completely opposite of what someone else has experienced.“Give every trans person the opportunity to tell their story and to talk about their journey, the challenges, the successes, because it’s not going to be the same as the last trans person you spoke to.”Buell said one of the biggest questions concerning the transgendered community is the problem with which public bathroom to use.“Everybody needs to go to the bathroom,” she said. “It really has an impact on the transgender community. … It makes choosing a bathroom difficult sometimes when your gender expression is showing the opposite of what the gender marker on your driver’s license says or is different from what the stereotypical gender expression may be. There’s this point of hesitancy when you walk up to the bathroom.”Buell said this is dangerous to members of the transgender community because in some places, it is illegal to enter bathrooms that do not match a person’s assigned gender. She said transgender students have started avoiding bathrooms at school altogether by not eating or drinking during the day, which can affect both their physical health and academic career.Though Buell describes herself as an open book, she said the experience of being transgender is a hard one. She said one way to make it easier for transgender people is to not impose gender roles from a young age, and to raise children in a more gender-neutral way until they express gender on their own.“I don’t wish this upon anyone. This is tough,” Buell said. “I’ve made a lot more out of it than I ever expected to make out of it. It’s tough. So if you have children and you allow them to express their gender when they’re ready to express their gender, it gives them a better shot of not going down the wrong path and having to reverse direction or correct direction, which is tough.”Tags: Gender and Women’s Studies, meghan buelllast_img read more

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AROUND THE BEND

first_img That feeling, the competitive itch to pick the lacrosse stick back up, hit Allie Murray whenever she played sports with the kids. After graduating from Notre Dame in three years, she worked in youth development for a university-affiliated community center in South Bend, Indiana.She taught reading, writing, even a little lacrosse during daily after-school programs. While searching for graduate programs, she kept thinking about her final year of eligibility. In UND’s 2014 regular season finale, Murray’s last-ever start, she allowed six goals on seven shots and was pulled after seven minutes and 41 seconds. The opponent, then-No. 1 Syracuse.Then she walked away, unsure if she’d ever play again. She had no idea her career would be resurrected at the same school that once ended it.A second chance I never thought I’d have.Allie MurrayIt was the solution Syracuse didn’t expect. After falling short in the national semifinal, the Orange lost just three key players, one of whom was goalie Kelsey Richardson. An injury to sophomore Melina Woon Avery left the position in question. The answer arrived when Murray visited SU with her mother and enrolled in a graduate Child and Family Studies program. Murray’s unorthodox path to Syracuse mirrors her unorthodox style of play, which at times has left her on the bench and other times “unbeatable.” Head coach Gary Gait still has yet to officially name a starter but tabbed Murray the frontrunner.“I’d like to say we took a leap of faith, but it really wasn’t,” said assistant coach Regy Thorpe. “It was a no-brainer. … What I love about her is that she’s hungry, she gets another chance.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShe missed two fall practices per week because of teaching assistant obligations, but made up for it by consuming hours of film in 30-minute chunks and playing in 20-plus scrimmages. Since arriving at SU, Murray has also groomed SU’s future. Teammate and first-team All-American Halle Majorana said she never turns down offers to take extra shots. Murray developed a routine for goalkeepers of “next-level drills” featuring footwork, clearing and hand-eye coordination.Courtesy of John Strohsacker | Inside LacrosseAllie Murray stands in net for Syracuse during the team’s scrimmage against Florida on Jan. 11Murray’s been working on those drills since high school. At Downington East (Pennsylvania), she had the quickest hand-eye coordination Lee Krug had seen in 39 years of coaching. During game warm-ups Krug usually scored at will from six yards out on most high school goalkeepers, but Murray surprised him. Krug shot harder. It made no difference. Sometimes, he thought Murray was laughing at him.Her reflexes helped develop an approach Krug had never seen before. When faced with a 1-on-1, Murray aggressively took one or two steps out to the right or left. Typically, goalkeepers step straight to the player, forcing them to choose a side to attack. Murray chose for them, cutting off shooting angles to one side, but leaving an open net on the other. Murray watched, waiting for the shot and then used her reflexes to meet the attacker’s stick. It reminded Krug of a basketball player blocking a shot.The coaching staff tried to change her approach, but she kept winning, became a high school All-American and they abandoned the project. Murray carried the aggression to Notre Dame under Christine Halfpenny and now Syracuse.She’s not shackled back there. She comes out and makes plays. We’re going to give up some open-netters probably here or there. She’s fun to watch. She’s really like an eighth defender.Regy ThorpeA few times during her senior year of high school, Murray was subbed out mid-game because, Krug said, she didn’t seem interested. When she played well, she excelled, but she struggled with consistency.Krug, Halfpenny and Thorpe all said when Murray goes on a “hot streak,” she’ll make game-changing saves. Each coach used the word “unbeatable.” Once, when Halfpenny said Murray got “really hot,” she made eight saves, including one in the final minute on a free position shot to preserve a Fighting Irish one-goal upset over No. 4 Northwestern. Forty-five days later, she was subbed out against Syracuse.That feeling — the happiness of picking up a lacrosse stick again — hit Murray when she stepped back onto the turf. She shares a house with her fifth-year teammates and relishes seeing shots again. She allowed goals this fall, but even that felt OK when the defense formed around her.“It’s unlike anything else,” Murray said of teammates, for whom she has plans. “… We have a good opportunity at winning (the national championship).“I know it’s my last shot.” Comments This is placeholder text Advertisement Allie Murray’s last shot at lacrosse comes in net for the Orange Published on February 11, 2016 at 12:07 am Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TRcenter_img Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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