By Ashton Leber
Social Media Editor
“You don’t know me. You don’t even know my name. You don’t even know how to say it. ”
For freshman accounting major Sherida Hinckson, coming to the College was like entering a new world, as she had only attended schools with Black and Hispanic students until now.
“When I came here, I had things said to me that weren’t nice because of my race, my hair or my name. It made me realize I can’t hide anymore,” she said.
Students gathered on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Cromwell Lounge to hear empowering stories from their peers in the “A Walk In My Shoes Monologues” hosted by the College’s Educational Opportunity Fund program.
Others took the stage to share their daily struggles.
Robin Friedman, a freshman interactive multimedia major, talked about the difficulties of battling depression while discovering his true gender identity.
A shift in his sleeping patterns, disinterest in things he once loved and frequent thoughts of leaving the world made Friedman realize he was changing.
“I kept telling myself none of this world was real,” he said. “I felt like a stranger walking through a dream.”
On the surface, Friedman may have appeared happy, but internally, he was fighting to keep it together.
Friedman explained that depression isn’t just feeling sad — it is skipping showers, having no motivation and losing the will to live.
He slowly learned to control his depression and discover his true self. This month, it will be a year since he came out as transgender to his parents.
“I look at gender in a fluid way, and I feel like no matter what my outward expression is, I still want to be son, boyfriend, he, him,” Friedman said.
Friedman’s friends and family have accepted him through his depression and transition. However, for other students, the process of acceptance is still ongoing.
Every morning, Stav Ron, a freshman women, gender and sexuality studies major, picks out what she’s going to wear to class, which isn’t easy.
Ron worries about what class she is going to and if students know she is transgender.
“You go about your day doing whatever you’re doing, constantly being called ‘sir, he, him’ even though you’re in a flowery skirt and a cute, queer and angry sweater,” Ron said.
She also fears getting attacked for using a certain bathroom while on campus, so she has to weigh her options.
“You can either A: Go into the men’s room and risk harassment, B: Go into the women’s room and risk harassment or C: Hold it until you can get somewhere where you won’t be risking harassment,” Ron said.
Most of the time, Ron chooses C.
Desiree McSulla, a junior elementary education and psychology double major who is biracial, shared her story, as well.
McSulla, who is both Black and White, said coming to the College made her feel comfortable in her own skin. She didn’t need to act like one race or the other, but was able to be herself.
“Coming here has been so much more comfortable because I have so many friends and sorority sisters that are very accepting of who I am,” she said.
The monologues moved many students in the audience, especially one who was there to support two of the speakers.
“I spend a fair amount of time with my two transgender friends,” said Silas Jones, a freshman English and secondary education dual major. “It was interesting to hear them talk about their whole lives in such plain terms.”
Friedman said he was proud of those who chose to come to the event and listen to other’s stories. He believes they should never stop listening to what others have to share.
Students need to educate their peers on diversity and accept their differences, according to Hinckson.
“I can’t hide, I just have to accept it,” she said. “I think now I am more accepting of who I am and what I look (like).”