Trans Visibility


My name is Gary Walker-Roberts and this is my Applied Project in order to earn my Masters in English at Arizona State University. I have focused on Transgender Awareness, and chose to deliver the information on a digital platform: Scalar. My desire to advocate for the transgender community was sparked in 2012. My boss, at the time, demanded that I apply discriminatory hiring practices when a highly qualified transgender female applied for a position that I was hiring for. I refused to do so and hired the most qualified person for the job, and it just so happened to be the transgender woman. The company was not happy with my "insubordinate" actions, and soon after the company and I settled on a severance package. At that moment, I decided to return back to college and earn my degrees. My passion was to focus on social injustice and English courses. I heavily focused on gender and sexuality issues and concerns, mainly transgender issues.

This book represents a culmination of the scholastic work that I began at Los Medanos Community College and continued at Arizona State University. I decided to focus on transgender issues for my applied project to further my advocacy for the trans community by bringing educational and social awareness to the forefront of people's minds in order to help eliminate fears and misconceptions that leads to bigotry, or worse transphobia.  In the words of Margaret J. Wheatley, "You can't hate someone whose story you know!"

Whatley's wise words guided me while working on my project and I believe that hearing individual transgender stories is a great place to start. I created version of my Trans Visibility scalar book as a digital essay for my Digital Literacy class at Arizona State University. We were learning how to navigate Google's Ngram viewer tool. The Ngram viewer tool is a search engine that delivers frequencies of words found in printed sources between the years of 1500-2008. Subsequently after typing in "transgender" into Google's Ngram viewer site, I noticed that the the popularity of the word did not spike until the 1960's. This was shocking to me. Transgender individuals very rich history; however, the communities history has been suppressed due to being marginalized and "othered." The Christian religions forced the gender binary system on societies across the globe; especially, during Euro-colonization of a continent thriving with Native Indians. Transgender history was intentionally forgotten and erased until Christine Jorgensen bravely entered American's living rooms by way of television. This was the beginning of a fight for trans equality and equity, and throughout the years acceptance of trans equality in social systems has steadily increased in large part due to the rise of social media platforms. 

This project continues on a solid base I had created in my Digital literacy class and I decided to expand my book. Visibility of transgender people has increased over the years and I proudly share many of their stories in my book. However, with any advancement, there always tends to be regression due to strongly rooted bigotry and homophobia. Even though President Obama made history in his State of the Union speech in 2015 when he included lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in his call for Americans to condemn persecution of individuals based on gender and religion, homophobia and transphobia have recently infiltrated into individual states political systems. For example, in North Carolina, a discriminatory law, known as HB2, has targeted transgender individuals. Shawn Stinson's physical image became an image to counter argue North Carolina's HB2 law. North Carolina's transphobic HB2 inspired me to write a screenplay for my graduate film class. 

I have had the privilege to work with two Transgender activists, Janet Mock and Juniper Xiomara. One of the projects that I lead in collaboration with Mock and Xiomara resulted in major changes for our local community college. The work must continue and my scalar book aims to educate individuals with a hope that our society stops "othering" the trans community. Transgender people living visibility, by leaving the margins of society, can not be a death sentence, rather, transgender equality should be seen as a human right. In order to eliminate transphobia, I am committed to educating members of our society on the beauty of what trans visibility looks like!

I hope you enjoy my Trans Visibility Scalar book!

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