Simple Digital Story

Guiding Oakland University Towards Gender Equality.


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Who is Ryan K. Sallans?

Ryan K Sallans is a transgender community educator, he was brought to Oakland University by the Women and Gender Studies program on Thursday October 27, 2016. As a public speaker he also finds time and compassion to educate people on diversity, consult those that may need it and he also is an author of “Second Son.” Ryan also specializes in educating health care providers on how to treat transgender men and women, campus inclusion and workplace issues impacting and surrounding the LGBTQ community.

Ryan for the last eleven years has lectured at multiple universities and communities in order to bring awareness and education about transgender men and women. On Thursday I attended his lecture in the Human Health Building and the lecture was very informal on many levels. At one point in my college career I minored in women and gender studies and find it necessary to have talks about our ever changing society. When we don’t talk about different sexual orientations such as transgender, lesbian or others we as a society make them feel left out and in a lot of cases in danger from the lack of understanding and (hate.)

What is normal?

According to Ryan, society has embedded the words “normal sexuality” into our heads which leads us to believe that anything other than a man and woman relationship is “abnormal” or out of place. Just like Ryan who was born a “female” he felt somewhat trapped inside his body and even referred to his breast at one point in a video he showed to “tumors” on his chest. He didn’t always feel comfortable with expressing his true desires but like most LGBTQ individuals he fought his way through the trapped doors and came out hoping to inspire others.

So what now?

Ryan came to OU and really touched on not only becoming transgender but also how to make our campus among other campuses around the world trans-inclusive which means setting up safe zones for the LGBTQ, incorporating gender neutral bathrooms and overall how to be open.

I have always been open to the LGBTQ and believe it should be a requirement for everyone in college to take at least a class (for free) on the community. I believe with this requirement we will have more of an understanding on our campuses.

Until then those like Ryan and the WGS department will continue to spread awareness and safe zones for LGBTQ to fully express themselves.