Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Bautista: welcome, behind the scenes

These past couple years, I worked for The Stanford Daily behind the scenes as a graphics editor. I remember while I waited for graphics requests, I read the columns — a good deal of them during my run there. I always wanted to write a column of my own, but I never knew what I had to offer.

Now, here goes: my experience as a queer, trans-identified person at Stanford.

It has been a positive one. I came into Stanford as lesbian and didn’t come out as trans until winter quarter sophomore year. Despite a couple bumps here and there with the pronoun change, Stanford has accepted me for me. When I consulted the registrar’s office, they changed my preferred name to Cristopher Marc within the week. My professors who knew me before my transition addressed me by my preferred name and pronoun without a second thought. I was allowed to study overseas at Oxford as a guy. And as if I couldn’t love my university more, Cardinal Care announced its coverage of transgender surgery beginning in the 2010-11 school year. Stanford is a mighty fine place to be trans.

But Stanford isn’t the real world. My name on StanfordWho is Cristopher Marc, but that’s only my preferred name. The registrar allows me to use it in some instances, but not in others. My preferred name shows up on class rosters, but my legal name, Cristina Marie, is still printed on official documents, such as my transcript, ID and housing forms. The registrar’s office said it wouldn’t be able to make my names consistent until I legally change my name — a process in California that costs hundreds of dollars. We’re not even getting started on changing the gender marker on my birth certificate.

There also are the rather uncomfortable explanations at interviews about why the name on my transcript doesn’t match the one on my resume. Or, at the supermarket when I’m carded buying beer, the cashier stares puzzlingly from my face back to my name and picture on the ID, then back to my face again, until he finally laughs awkwardly and tells me he thought I was a dude. That one time when I was in a club in London, a couple drunk girls kept asking me if I was a boy or a girl and even went as far as trying to touch me and “check.”

The real world is out there, and the real world isn’t going to be fun. Once I’m looking for jobs or applying to grad school, a simple mention of, “Oh, I’m trans,” might not fly, especially in a world where an English major like me might not be able to find a job here, and would have to look for work in places that might not dig the whole queer thing.

This year is going to be a big one for me. Not only am I a senior writing an honors thesis and being an RA a frosh dorm (Serra love), but I’m also looking at a couple big steps in my transition. I need my transcript to match my preferred name in time for graduate school applications, so I’m going to court to change my legal name. I’m also about to start the process of hormone therapy so I can finally treat my “testosterone deficiency,” as I like to affectionately call it.

The goal of this column is to document this journey. I want this to get people wondering, to get them talking. I want people to understand. I’m not saying that my experience is the definitive transgender experience. My story is simply one of many.

Perhaps, a couple years down the line, a young transgender Stanford student who has just come out will look for some resources.  They will type “Stanford transgender” into Google, grasping for straws — and this column will pop up in the Daily archives. Yeah, it’s only a small handful of articles, full of weird little anecdotes and observations from this small Filipino transboy who graduated years and years ago. But it’s at least something. I remember when I was first coming out, I was desperate for at least something, because something was better than nothing.

So if you’re reading this, Stanford student from the future: this is for you, and I hope reading these words will make your transition a little bit easier.

Stanford, I offer you my experiences in the form of this column.  Sit back and enjoy my journey into manhood.

Continue the conversation. Write to Cris at cmsb@stanford.edu.