Young peeps in Maine, who are "currently busy" supporting trans youth,Â in the words of this week's subject, Will.
Right now on TV and in the movies, where I and a lot of other people seem to measure our culture's capacity for Human tolerance and understanding, most queer characters are teenagers and young people. Now, of course youngs are always ahead of the curve, but when the New York Times refers to last year, 2010, as the year of the transsexual,, something's up.
Y-Press in Indianapolis just churned out a series of reports on gender, from girls on the football team, to stereotypes in the media. This story from Shayan Ahmad is called Transgender Youth. And it's pretty much what it sounds like: interviews with two trans youth living in Indianapolis about how they are living.
Check out Y-Press's other stories in its Gender series over here on PRX.
And I got in touch with Shayan via email and asked him a few questions about gender, himself, and Y-Press.
We know our parents are probably more conservative, but how different are some your age group's (under 21) perceptions of gender then even 10/15 years older than you?
The perception of my generations views on gender do seem to be more progressive, but still not at the level of universal acceptance. To the best of my knowledge, the response toward Gay and Lesbian people has improved greatly, although there are still definitely those who see gay marriage as immoral. I would say that most people in our generation are accepting of the prospect, but its still a hot topic. The response to the transgender community is a lot less accepting; during conversations I had with other youth about my experience interviewing transgender kids, most all thought of the gender confusion as strange. So for the gay and lesbian community our generation is responding well, but unfortunately I can't say the same about the transgender community.
What drew you to this aspect of gender (trans issues) when developing a report under this umbrella theme?
The major motivation for me was my utter lack of knowledge. There were a ton of issues which I was completely unaware of, and in developing the piece I learned a great amount concerning a community of which I had no prior understanding.
How did you meet and get to know your subjects?
We were able to get in touch with our interviewees mostly through the Indiana Youth Group (IYG). We had prior contact to the group, which was helpful, and then were able to talk for a good amount with three youth and one adult supervisor who had gone through a gender change. The other transgender person we interviewed was Masen Davis, who is the head of the Transgender Law Center. We found the organization online and simply e-mailed them, and luckily they were really willing to do an interview.
What else are you up to in Indianapolis? What news shows do you like, magazines/blogs do you read?
Mostly, I'm up to Y-Press, and also my high school newspaper publication (hilite.org), so a good amount of journalism. As with most high schoolers, I'm mostly busy with school but I also do occasional fundraising, partly for Riley Children's Hospital, Relay for Life, and to support the citizens of Pakistan who were affected by the recent flooding. I'm a big fan of The Daily Show and NPR, but for my regular news I usually visit either CNN or BBC. I'm also a huge fan of This American Life, and regularly read Time Magazine and music and entertainment reviews.