By Matthew Tirado
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – What is the difference between gender and sex? That was the topic of discussion at the Owning Our Ignorance meeting at 1 p.m. Friday at Camden County College.
Students who attended the meeting, which was held in room 303 of CCC’s Madison Hall, talked about everything from gender identity to gender-neutral toys and anti-bullying laws.
The group shared their knowledge on different gender-related topics and the floor was open to any questions or comments. The meeting consisted of an open discussion in which students could ponder on the subject and then contribute to the process of learning.
Some topics were more forward and direct. For the countless individuals who are unaware of what it means to be transgender, this would have been the time for them to own up to their own ignorance.
There are many different types of transgender people and there are distinct ways in which they are defined. The two main categories are transsexuals and cross-dressers, according to one study.
Transsexuals are men or women who feel they were born in the wrong body and wish to surgically and/or hormonally change their sex. Cross-dressers are men or women who don’t feel the need to change their bodies but dress themselves in the clothes of the opposite sex.
Dom Deal, 22, first-year environmental science major, entered the room after the meeting was well underway and announced he was transgender.
Deal talked about the obstacles he’s faced along the way, saying he’s dealt with a great deal of depression but things are getting better.
“Since I’ve started coming out to people, it’s been much easier,” he said with the look of confidence.
Deal is part of a world population of just two percent.
Lynne Benson, a student at CCC’s Regional Emergency Training Center, was in attendance. Benson, who stated she was there on behalf of Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays, did most of the speaking. As to her thoughts and feelings about transgenderism, the office administrative specialist major had much to say.
“I believe that we have to accept people as they understand themselves to be and how they present themselves to us,” said Benson, who describes herself as a civil rights activist.
Club adviser Sean Landis said the club started in 1992 and is devoted to getting better at learning.