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MESSAGE FROM CAMPAIGN HOST

[ 1 ]

Bridget Galaty

December 31 at 7:00pm

The quaint house in the suburbs. The white picket fence. The tire swing in the backyard. The husband and two kids. I, like so many of us, fantasized as a child about growing into this "norm" for adult life.

But while I could envision parts of this life for myself, there are aspects of who I am that don't fit into this cookie-cutter mold I so wished to attain. For my 8th grade graduation, I convinced my mom to help me sew a necktie, something I had wanted for some time, and I was immediately hooked. I taught myself how to sew and tie bowties, and it became a part of my identity: the kid who wears bowties all the time. (In fact, my sophomore year history teacher dressed up as me with my signature bowtie and suspenders for Halloween!) Last year, I took a greater step and cut my hair, getting a traditionally masculine cut with buzzed sides and a short top. With this outward presentation, I have come to accept that society will often perceive me as a boy, from the simple "sir" as a formal address to getting reprimanded for going into the women's restroom.


While I am fortunate enough to live in a community where people didn't really care if I fit gender norms, I have come to recognize that, for many, this is is not the case. Around the world, LGBTQ+ people are discriminated against, and even criminalized, purely based upon our gender or sexual orientation. Within our own country, the rights of queer people (rights to things like marriage or even use of the bathroom) are sometimes in question. Today, even in a world that is redefining "normal," there are still people who are rejected by those closest to them because they do not fit into the box that has been created by society.

As one of the leaders of my school's Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) for the past two years, I have worked with my peers to find both internal and external acceptance. In this role, I have had discussions about how to embrace yourself, even if others don't, and how to be an educator to people new to these ideas. Last year, I found that I could use my filmmaking expertise to teach my community. I made a piece about microaggressions perpetrated against LGBTQ+ people. Further, I am currently working on a documentary film about wardrobe shopping with transgender students and the ways that their experiences both are and are not so different from the experiences of cisgender people. This work is helping me to bring voice to people who often go unheard.

As a kid, I assumed I would grow up to fit the "norm." Now, when I think about my future, I'm not sure about whether I'll even want the house, fence, swing, and spouse, but I do know that I will work hard to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to frame their image of their future.

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