As I was signing up for my classes this fall, I was excited to learn that finally I could take IU’s Human Sexuality class. I heard many good things about the class and I figured that it would coincide quite well with my Gender Studies’ major. I walked in the first day, sat down, and eagerly awaited the traditional “first day spiel”. The speech I heard was what I had expected: forms for parental consent, talk of watching porn, and an overview of the syllabus. However, as the semester went on, I became very confused; this class started to sound like something I was critiquing in my Gender Studies classes. The information given to the class was what I would call “a good effort” to inform, but for the most part many of the students and even the teacher a time seemed to be ignorant of Queer issues. I was baffled and found myself wanting to correct the information that she was giving the students. I could not believe that this type of knowledge still existed. Why did this woman come before a class of college kids and not know the difference between a transsexual and a transgendered person? Better yet, if she didn’t know the difference or didn’t seek to explain it to the class, why did she include this in her power point presentation? It was a rude awakening. I felt at that moment like the world would never catch up, would never understand the queer world, and that the “average Joe” would never understand me; I felt as if I had entered a time machine which was set to the beginning of my college career, before my Gender Studies awakening. But then I thought, who is “right” here and does Gender Studies even matter if this is the mainstream interpretation of sexuality? It made me wonder how I could spread the Gender Studies word? Oh, but how frustrating it was that these people did not know or understand queer issues, was it even worth getting my panties in a twist attempting to explain anything to them? Well, I decided to see how the rest of the semester developed and vowed to say something when I could. But then a very good day came, a day which was devoted entirely to transgendered issues. Although it did not contain an analysis of these issues, it at least recognized and sought to inform the class about this category of people. It was actually a very beautiful moment because for once the heterosexual and birth control was left behind and a full two hours was for trans; in a mainstream, essentially, a health sexuality class!!! I had to commend my professor at that moment.

A "real world" reality?

I ask myself even now, will there ever be a true space for Gender Studies in health classes? Or will Gender Studies classes be the health classes of the future with a focus on having a queer conscious tone? I can only hope. We are nowhere near close, but I think it is a possibility. I guess that my purpose for writing about this for my last blog is to revisit the “old world” and my “old self”. I definitely would not like to stay there, but it is a good inclination for me, as I am about to graduate and hopefully go to law school, the work that needs to be done and the level of understanding I must have in order to relate to the world. Let’s just hope that the “real world” is ready to change!

-Katie Schaffer

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