College Woes

Butterfly WomanSo, before my laptop broke (the part did come in and it should be fixed by tomorrow, hopefully), I was playing another visual novel game called Roommates. The basic premise is that you play as one of two characters who is beginning college and has chosen to live in a communal house on campus. It’s sort of like a fraternity or sorority house, except it’s not a frat or sorority, it’s just a co-ed house with a communal bathroom and kitchen. The thing that struck me about this game is the sheer level of attention to detail given regarding diversity in this game. Yes, like many games with a small cast, it is primarily white folks with token racial minorities (one Indian roommate, one Hispanic roommate, and one black guy as the friend and bandmate of one of the two playable characters). However, they go more into detail with this game to the point that they actually have one character (the Hispanic girl, who is actually a Mexican citizen and attending college to get a degree in teaching so she can go home and improve the education of kids in her small hometown) explain the difference between pansexual (her) and bisexual (the Indian guy) to you, as she’s pan and another character is bi.

The reason I bring this up is twofold: first, I was surprised by the level of detail and diversity, but also disappointed by the lack of a trans character in a setting where it would be interesting to explore that situation. Second, it reminds me of many issues regarding universities that we trans folk face. I hear you asking how this relates to trans legal issues, and I understand, it seems odd. Except that public universities are subject to state and federal laws. As my longtime readers may remember, nearly three years ago when I started this blog, I ran into issues with my initial transfer into TWU because of being transgender. In short, I was told that because I was legally male at the time, I would have to use the few unisex restrooms on campus, and failing that, use the men’s rooms. I was in the process of getting my name and gender marker changed at the time, but was still told that the university considered me to be male.

I never got a real answer on the housing situation, instead choosing to find an apartment and a roommate off campus, but I’ve still often wondered about that. One of the two dorm towers was co-ed, the other women only. Because I was already in my late 20s, I wouldn’t have been staying in those, but a trans individual coming to college right out of high school might. As you’re likely starting to see, this ties in a lot with yesterday’s post about the need for an easier transition legally regarding our identities. However, it’s not just in housing and restrooms. Much like with the tax commissioner’s office yesterday, I had to provide my DD-214 and name change paperwork to my current school recently in an attempt to get a military waiver for in-state tuition. Yesterday I checked in on the status of it, and the person I’ve been working with on the issue was out, so I had to speak to someone else. He made it clear that he was brought into the loop on my case, and was following it closely.

Part of me wondered if he had been brought into the loop because of my trans status. As someone who has worked in an office, I’m well aware of the kind of relationship coworkers develop, and the interoffice gossip that happens. It’s most likely this individual was brought in on my case because it’s an unusual one from the military side of things; I was not active duty within the allotted time frame, but I was still in the reserves, which gives a different form from the DD-214, so it became a question of if that would work or not. However, there was that part of me wondering if they were gossiping about “hey, I got this vet in here who used to be a man! What’s with that?” Simply put, public universities are just another place where legal issues are faced by being trans.

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