As mentioned in my previous post, it was Transy’s intimate campus setting that initially drew me in last fall; however, in spite of receiving my acceptance letter, a considerable amount of trepidation continued to plague my mind. Coming from a small public school in Western, KY, I can recall multiple instances in which I missed out on various events/programs that my friends from larger schools attended. Would choosing a small college mean the same thing? Would coming Transy cause me to miss out on important opportunities? Will there be good on-campus events? Will they have any programs that I am interested in? Will they have all of the resources that I need to complete my work? Of course, with these questions running through my head last spring, I turned to none other than my admissions counselor.
After several emails between myself and my admissions counselor my fears were quelled. She assured me that what Transy doesn’t have, our neighbors at the University of Kentucky do—and Transy students get to reap the benefits! These benefits include transfer credits for programs not currently offered at Transy (such as with our recently acquired pre-engineering program), use of the William T. Young library, co-sponsored sports events (like Battle on Broadway), campus events, and much more!
On Tuesday, February 25th, Transy students took full advantage of this as they got the opportunity to join their neighbors at UK to hear transgender activist and TV actress, Laverne Cox, speak at UK’s own Memorial Hall. The talk, which was free to students from both campuses, contained an important message that was applicable to all audience members regarding personal identity and inclusion. This included Cox recounting various struggles from her adolescence including multiple instances of bullying and discrimination—from not only from her peers, but also her teachers. “Mrs. Ridgeway called my mother and said, ‘Your son is going to end up in New Orleans wearing a dress if we don’t get him into therapy now.'” Cox exclaimed, recalling the third grade incident.
Growing up in the deep south, she recounted multiple instances in which her religion was used as a way of instilling fear within her over her life decisions. Throughout her talk she reiterated the need to dispel with this notion of “policing” each other, and that if we get to know people as people, perhaps misled preconceptions will go away. She made a direct call to action to her young audience to take action in making not only our respective campuses, but also the larger community of Lexington, more accepting. This, she alluded to, can only become a reality once we have accepted ourselves for who we truly are. In keeping with this thought, chuckling, Cox revealed to the audience that she did indeed visit New Orleans where she spoke to students at Tulane University—wearing a green dress.
While Transy students undoubtedly reap the tangible benefits of living in a town with over 30,000 college students, it is the intangible lessons—such as those expressed by Laverne Cox—which set Transy apart from other universities with similar credentials.