Gender expression at White Station

Rainbow+flags+line+Beale+Street+during+the+Mid-South+Pride+Fest%2C+representing+protests+for+rights+of+the+LGBT%2B+community.+One+of+the+flags+waved+was+the+Transgender+flag%3B+the+light+blue%2C+pink%2C+and+white+colors+respectivly+symbolize+baby+boys%2C+baby+girls%2C+and+transitioning+or+undefined+genders.+

WMC Action News 5

Rainbow flags line Beale Street during the Mid-South Pride Fest, representing protests for rights of the LGBT+ community. One of the flags waved was the Transgender flag; the light blue, pink, and white colors respectivly symbolize baby boys, baby girls, and transitioning or undefined genders.

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It’s hard to be different. But at White Station, many transgender students have found a place where they are free to be themselves. 

“I came out the summer before my junior year, and since then everyone has been really supportive,” said Cameron Leith (12). “I haven’t had any backlash or anything… and I know that is really fortunate because in other schools around Memphis it’s not that way, and people are bullied and such, but I have had a very positive experience at White Station.” 

Despite the absence of outright oppression, transgender students acknowledge that there are underlying problems. The lack of education about the LGBT+ community has in some cases led to uncomfortable situations regarding the bathrooms or of mis-gendering. Transphobia has also led to instances of cyberbullying.  

“I feel like there are some teachers here that aren’t as supportive as they should.  In the end, it’s their job, so they shouldn’t be implementing their own opinions and beliefs in their students’ lives,” said Leith. 

However, the majority of the Spartan staff or fellow educators are putting in the effort to embrace transgender students.

“Generally, the only thing I want from people is to be called what I want to be called, and to me that’s the best I can get, and I’ve been getting that. All my teachers have been calling me the right pronouns [and] by the right name,” said Mark Rawlinson (12). 

Leith and Rawlinson encourage younger transgender students, or any of their fellow peers struggling with their identities, to ask for help. They have felt the support of the guidance counselors and Principal Carrye Holland throughout any inconveniences.

“Based on my own experience, be yourself and don’t be afraid to be yourself and always reach out for help if you feel like you are in uncomfortable situations. Because you are not alone,” said Leith. 

Being a gender minority has given transgender Spartans a unique perspective on the world and interactions with others. 

“Have confidence in yourself and your identity,” Rawlinson said. “Loving yourself goes really far, even in academics, because you feel better about the things you do and how you act around people.”