Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Over the last four years since coming out as a gay transgender male, I have experienced a lack of support, knowledge, and understanding from society as a whole, including medical professionals and other clinicians. I have discovered that having providers who are transgender themselves makes a significant difference in the care I have received, and I want to provide these support services as a social worker to other people in my community. There are many clinicians who call themselves “gender specialists,” however, due to my own experiences, a person really cannot understand what it is like to identify as a gender that is different from the one assigned to them at birth unless they experience it themselves.
Each day living as a transgender person brings on unique struggles, many of which are due to society’s ignorance, fear, and even hatred of the transgender community. Laws are being passed to prevent us from living our lives like the rest of the population, such as restricting access to bathrooms, banning us from serving in the military, restricting our participation in sports, and making the treatment of transgender youth punishable by law. There are already so many internal challenges that come with identifying on the transgender spectrum. Adding to that society’s mistreatment of the transgender community makes it even more difficult. The suicide rate among trans youth who do not have support is alarming and needs to be addressed. I believe that increasing awareness and educating the general public about the transgender community, along with the support of clinicians who truly understand their experience can make a difference. As a social worker, I not only want to work with transgender individuals and the LGBT community, but I also want to serve as an educator to the general public in order to promote change to make living as a transgender person a little easier.

Caidin from Florida
Barry University