Tonight with the youth we talked about transphobia. We started off the night by working with the youth to define transphobia, to have the youth not only say what it is, but how it is manifest and why it happens. I could go on and on about having learned the process in ethics classes, and that it stems from Paulo Freire’s pedagogical approach to critical consciousness, but I’ll hold off on that. What I’m really interested in sharing is one comment shared by a youth after we wrote the definition. After 45 minutes of working on the definition, making sure all voices were included, this youth said that the process of adding the “how” and “why” to the definition was “brutal.” We asked why. The youth responded:
“It was brutal because…well, once you define something, you can’t ignore it – it’s real. You can’t turn off what you know, or close your eyes to it anymore. Once it’s defined, it’s personal, it’s specific; it means something in a new way.”
I could add to that, and go on and on about how powerful it was to hear the youth articulate things like this, but I think I’ll just sign off with that.