Adviser Update Adviser Update Spring 2017 | Page 36

audience groaned and sighed with the understanding of a mutual sisterhood .
When a compliment arrived about her boots followed by a question about where she got them , Howe ’ s humorous outlook retorted with a story about the many women in her Eugene , Oregon , community who gave her clothing . To her delight , and with her ability to look on the lighter side of almost every issue , Howe explained they were given to her ; she added that she has a closet full of hand-me-downs , many with the original store tags still on them .
“ Don ’ t these women know how to use a receipt to return clothing ?” she said , in her comedic voice , mocking in disbelief the money some women spend on clothes they purchase but never wear . “ Surely , they know which store they bought them from !”
Because the room was crowded and hot , and perhaps feeling the comfort of being a show favorite , she asked permission to take off her sweater , revealing her black tank top and matching form-fitting skirt . Her arms and chest have no hair , her right arm sports a tattoo ( presumably left over from her previous life ’ s chapter ), and her estrogen treatments boasted the development of a woman ’ s breasts . She wore make-up and complained about her hair being at the length at which she can do nothing with it .
In a more sobering moment , Howe was questioned about how a journalist can know what pronoun to use for a transgender .
“ As a journalist , ask ,” Howe said .
For any journalist who intends to write about transgender issues , Howe recommended the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association , PFLAG , and her Huffington Post blog ( see a list of resources below ).
“ Google the term transgender ,” she said , “ and one of the first items a writer will see is an article on ‘ Seven things you ’ re not supposed to ask transgenders ’.”
In Howe ’ s worldview of the “ mental wiring ” involved in gender expression , the nature vs . nurture debate “ doesn ’ t matter ” to her . Rather , she said , many find root in society ’ s unequal expectations of males and females .
Females , for example , are given latitude to physically choose hair , clothes , and occupations outside of society ’ s acceptable feminine ranges . Males don ’ t seem to have as much leeway .
“ It ’ s more acceptable to be a girl who expresses masculinity than it is for a man to express femininity ,” she said .
This imaginary box of limited masculine expectations often prevents males from expressing themselves fully , and might be the reason a bulk of transgenders are biological males who self-express their female identities .
Howe said laws for bathrooms would only make the matter in