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Cultural Immersion

Whitney Harris

Wilmington University
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Is that a girl? No its a man! But how can you tell? How would you feel if your everyday

errands turn into a full room of judges of your identity? Questions of who are you, what do you

want to be and who you need to be today, play in your head daily. Will I see my family today?

How can I tell them I feel different then who they see? Will they love me? Will they understand?

Will they accept me? These are just a few questions that come with being transgender. What is

transgender? According to the Merriam Websters dictionary transgender is being a person

whose gender identity differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth. In

simple terms being transgender is a term that describes a person(s) who is living their life

opposite of their gender. A transsexual is someone who is seeking to change their gender to the

opposite sex. For example a male living his life as a woman is transgender, a male seeking to

change (hormones and surgery) will be transsexual.

Todays society has become more modernized and accepting of many things like the gay

or lesbian community. With the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Transgender/Transsexual

(LGBQT) community coming out more and demanding acceptance. LGBQT have done protest

and parades to preach equality and fair treatment to all. They have come together on all types of

platforms like social media to help uplift one another and be each others support systems even

when their community is not. The youth has started to come out at earlier ages to live in their


Instead of finding a film on transgender, I decided to go on social media to tap into the

personal issues of an adolescent transgender. I found Bambii, an eighteen year old female, who

was born as a male named Anthony. Bambii has been on the social media platform since twenty-

fourteen. She is a you tuber that has been sharing her journey of becoming a female via video

blogs, instagram post and interviewing with blogs to tell her story. In her My Coming out
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Story she tells how as a male she felt she was gay in kindergarten, and throughout grade school

she never was attracted to females. In school as a male there were many times of being called

gay, or saying of you act like a female and all association were to be compared to a female. At

the age fifteen, he had a bad relationship with his mother because he was angry from not being

able to accept himself. Anthony then decided to come out to his family, friends, and classmates

that he was gay after his mother took him to a therapist because of his actions and preference in

clothing. Anthony was perceived as a gay male. Soon after Anthony started to wear female

clothing and identify as female by dressing, acting, to others, but to him he was being himself.

For awhile his mother did not want to accept it because that was her only son but after therapy

with each other she became open and now fully acceptant.

Today Anthony is proud to be a transgender woman seen as Bambii, she has not

announced her new name, and still undergoing surgeries and taking hormones. On Bambiis

youtube channel she discusses her life growing up and never feeling accepted from being biracial

to gender exploration. In her mind she fault with depression because the hatred of being called a

male pronouns. She explains that extended family members did not want to accept what she was

doing and because she still had the parts of a male then that is what she is. She tells her audience

that I look in the mirror and see a young beautiful lady and that what I am. She tries to

empower others, all the while empowering herself to say, do not let others dictate who you are.

As she explains in many of her videos, being transgender women is who she always thought she

was, no matter what others had to say. As Bambii grew up she never had seen herself as an older

male, but one day as a woman.

Now that Bambii is older she can admit to the hatred to her body as a male. She explains

her disappointment to people who could not accept her and those who thought it was a phase.
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Today because of social media and her love for her followers she can say how much she loved

her new body and the process she is going through. She loves herself and what she is becoming

because it fits who I always thought I was. Social media and meeting people like herself has

helped her platform and not only helped her culture but helped other young ladies build inner

confidence. The transgender/ gay community has been accepting of her changes and encourages

her growth.

As stated before Bambii community, esppcially in her freshman year of high school did

not accept her. She was talked about and laughed all for wanting to dress as a woman. Since then

her peers have embraced her.

I choose to write about Bambii and her experience in being a transgender teen because

my agency is the Upward Bound program. Upward bound (UB) is a program that provides

opportunities for high students to succeed in a high education chase. UB program at the

University of Maryland Eastern Shore has had to encounter with LGBQT community but never

have they had to accept a transgender student (identifies as a different sex, no surgeries or

hormones). With the program being a part of a University I would think I would find such a

person to interview. According to the residence life program they do not have any official

transgender students that identify as the opposite sex, who have started the process. I choose to

speak with a female who identifies as a male but loves her female body.

Dametra known as D is a junior at the university. I interviewed D because she has been a

student for a couple years and know the community in the campus, as well as outside of campus.

She is from the city and I wanted a perspective of the outside looking into a new area for her. I

wanted to know firsthand the experiences she has gone through while being a female dressed as a

male in Princess Anne, Md. I ask D, how was it moving to a country area, and being looked at as
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a male? She explains, Country was never the problem, my family is from the south, but dressing

like this did give me a few looks. My friends think it is because people cannot tell if I am a male

or not. I ask D, What made you start wearing male clothes? There was never a time, minus

holidays for pictures, that I wore male clothes. I am a tomboy and I do not like tight clothing.

We spoke on the clothing for a second and I ask, When did you know you liked women, and how

accepting was your family? She replied, always, I am bi-sexual. I think my parents accept me

more for just being me. I have brought home someone from each sex and they never made a big

deal, just gave me the, as long as your happy speech. D and I have a good talk about the

community; she explains that she thinks the younger crowd is very accepting and open to new

things and meeting al kids of people but the older generations are the ones we need to work on. I

told her I can agree with that. The older population in this community has a hard time

embarrassing new cultures and new leaders.

In the Upward Bound community we have gay and lesbian students, no transgender. The

community we are a part goes with the university and the counties in which the students are

from. The access to my agency is the same for any student that applies for upward bound; there

is no discrimination against students. After applying and being selected when all information is

in and all guidelines are followed, they will board the buss in specified county and come to the

university. This does not change for any student, no discrimination in culture, religion, sex ect.

If I was a part of the transgender population walking into UB I would feel completely

comfortable. The lobby is just of chairs, the literature is of community and university magazines

and the receptionist, speaks to you soon as you walk into the door. The quietness in the room

after she speaks would be the only awkward moment, no music or talking. If I was a high school

student I would feel welcomed because the names of all surrounding high schools are on the
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board. If I was a student at the university I would feel welcomed because of the office colors and

university magazines.

UB is an agency that welcomes diversity and is even looking to stretch their program out

to other counties. When looking for staffing and training, human resources makes sure they are

an equal employer. Every summer they must go through trainings that include: Sexual

harassment, and cultural awareness. These training are brought to the UB team by state employee

presenters about their awareness of others and consequences. For the transgender population they

have not hired, but as said transgender is not big in this community. The agency however has

student employees, interns and tutors volunteers who are lesbian and gay. At UB a high school

student is a high school student, this agency does not identify students by their sexual

orientation. The funding of the program is towards students who neither parent received a

bachelors degree or if they are first generation. Another set program would be the topics of

learning. UB prepares students for taking college courses, and their classes go alone with that

schedule. The summer program has more of a flex schedule, and is able to have presenters. This

time would be a perfect way to introduce transgender equality to the students. This may could

help them in homes are even in their specific schools when they think of treating others


As stated there are no transgender youth in the agency. When speaking to the director

about the project and my selected group she explains something that stood out to me. As

children they are finding their identity, they do not know who they are yet. When listening to

videos and reading interviews, transgender individuals say they have always known their identity

and felt trapped in a body that was not for them. This population believes they were placed in the

wrong body and need to change so their inside matches how they feel. This is important because
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we fall into this category that God created us and we should not change that. These males and

females fight depression daily looking into the mirror. Depression is real, so how does a certain

level of maturity distinguish who they feel they are change because of peoples view. The staffing

at the upward bound office is a little older, but I do not think there is a lack of sensitivity. I think

it is a lack of knowledge on the culture.

Transgender are the unspoken, quiet community in this area. I am sure there are men and

women transitioning around here because of the programs and types of counseling for the

LGBQT community. They are just not broadcasting, such as Bambii. Everyone does not have

the platform or even want the platform/ audience. Personally I have only encountered drag

queens, non at which gone through any surgeries. As I continue to learn more about the

transgender culture I think it is important to remember the simple terms of almost every teacher,

you cannot judge a book by its cover. As a part of an agency I think it is very important to be

culturally aware and sensitive to others. We never know the torment, confusion or mental place a

client, student, and staff could be in. To be a helpful and safe environment should be the key of

all agencies no matter the personal goals of the organization.

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Anthony. (2016, March 12). Itsbambii- I am Transgender. Retrieved March 2017, from

Anthony. (2015, September 12). ItsBambii-My Coming out Story. Retrieved March 2017, from

Mizock, L., & Mueser, K. T. (2014, June 1). Employment, Mental Health, Internalized Stigma,
and Coping With. pp. 146-158.

Transgender. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2017, from Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-

What is Trangender. (2013, April 1). Retrieved March 2017, from YouTube: