Gender identities and acceptance at Hamline: the importance of support and community

kimia Kowsari, Columnist

Justice Vue

About 4% of Hamline’s 2,000 students are trans, meaning their gender identity is different from the gender they’ve been socialized as. That may sound like a small number, but according to NPR, only 0.6% of the U.S. adult population is trans. 

There are a lot of trans identities in this country and even in Hamline. No two people here are the same — and that’s the beauty of it. 

“It makes me feel more comfortable and happier. I also feel more free to express my gender in whatever way I feel most reflects me,” junior Zach Linkous said.

At the same time, another trans student, senior Siah Callahan feels differently. 

“Although Hamline says they have resources for all their students, as a Black trans woman, I have not felt supported or like they have my back in certain situations,” Callahan said.  

I think there is a truth to both of these statements, Hamline has a great community of trans students to lift each other up and to feel supported, but at the same time, I believe that there is much more work to be done on a larger scale.

 Many students feel this need for growth from staff and faculty.

“Some staff do an amazing job and I am really appreciative of that, but I think there is definitely room for improvement,” sophomore Cameron Stockwell said. 

There are many different ways that Hamline can help trans students. There is not a one size fits all solution, but if we do not help our trans community, we are ignoring an important part of our campus. 

“I’ve personally always appreciated professors encouraging all students to share their pronouns during introductions, I feel less othered when everyone shares theirs. I’ve also appreciated the installment of gender neutral bathrooms,” Linkous said. 

All over this country, violence against trans people, especially trans women of color, has been on the rise. 

“I wish Hamline would have more resources to protect trans women of color on campus because there is so [much] violence happening in the trans community that we need more resources and help from Hamline to make sure we stay safe,” Callahan said.

Trans students are also continuing to find and express ways they can support and encourage each other. 

 “I want trans students on campus to know if it is not okay now, it will be one day. That if those around you don’t accept you, you will find a family that will love you for who you are,” Stockwell said. 

Callahan also expresses a love ethic. 

“To my trans and nonbinary friends I want y’all to love yourselves. I know that self love is always talked about, but your love for yourself is the most important,” Callahan said.

Linkous shares the same sentiment. 

Don’t compromise who you are for anyone,” Linkous said.

It can be hard to be trans in general, but there is so much love and support here for students who feel like they are different. Even if there are a lot of improvements left to make, there will always be an amazing community of other trans students at Hamline, waiting to make sure other students are welcomed.