Adviser Update Adviser Update Spring 2017 - Page 35

35 her daughter a little more about transgender etiquette when, next to Howe’s own stall, her daughter yelled, ‘Daddy?’” Having only announced her true identity 11 months ago, Howe’s impressions were all so fresh, so undefined, so outside of a sound bite—for her, nothing was ever a straight answer. The Q&A seminar included many disclaimers from Howe. She often prefaced replies with how she was about to say something unexpected, something other than what the inquirer probably wanted or had previously heard. Caitlyn Jenner, her friend for example, is not a typical transgender story. Not every person who transitions from one gender to another is a former Olympic athlete who gets national attention and whom, after her transition, appears on a cover photo for Sports Illustrated. On those grounds, Howe said hers wasn’t typical either, as she gets regular calls from Jenner, and she writes a national blog for Huffington Post. On such a basis, Howe voiced her narrative one question at a time. None of her answers were generalizations. In her need to be exact and ensure her audience had ample information to understand that she is only one example of a transgender person, her responses often took several minutes and several examples to complete themselves. How did this ex-high-school- teacher-now-journalism-Ph.D.- candidate and self-pronounced transgender poster child from the University of Oregon know that she was a female born to a male body? “Mine was a series of moments (throughout her lifetime) punctuated by a moment of realization.” Howe counseled her audience to simply respect a person’s gender expression. Acronyms like LGBT or LGBT+ are preferences, as is the pronoun a person prefers. “When someone identifies as transgender, they don’t have to do anything else,” she said. “That means respect it.” To emphasize, she said there is no checklist that makes somebody transgender. Although many take hormones and opt for surgery, it is not mandatory to take such actions to earn a transgender badge. Moreover, Howe set the mood for a cautionary tale whenever a writer tries to define the transgender population. “Preoccupation with parts and surgery is a limited view,” she said. “Transgender occupies more than parts, hormones and surgery.” Besides, she said, “Most of us who transition never have surgery or take hormones.” Howe’s transition with estrogen treatment is gradual, she said, mentioning the crying jag she’s been on since July. Many in the