Chanel Oberlin

What do you identify as?

 

I consider myself transgender. I have always known myself as female and identified as one, I just didn’t have the courage to embrace it and let everybody know due to a fear of rejection and being left behind.

 

Why is it important for you to be a vocal member of your community?

 

It's important, not only to spread awareness and make more people aware that people like me exist. Also because the trans community is a very endangered and unpredictable community to be in. I have faced some harsh backlash from people who don’t understand or don’t accept me for who I really am. 

 

When was the first time you saw yourself represented in mainstream media?

 

I saw a documentary on the BBC when I was much younger that really made me think and question my situation which led to years of research until I finally come to terms with who I really was, it took a really long time to process and accept this.

 

In what ways do you feel your university has done/ not done enough for LGBTQ+ students?

 

The university did not do much, the main reason being as It was a secret and I hid out of fear, something which I now regret very much.

 

 At what age did you come out publicly/privately and how was that experience for you?

 

I only came out last February so the one year mark is approaching. It was very difficult telling friends and family as at first they didn’t understand and saw this as a 'phase’. I have lost many family members and friends since coming out.

 

Do you think binary gender has a place in today's Society // Is gender important to society and to you as an individual?

 

I do believe there is a place for what anybody identifies as regardless of identity and gender. A lot more education and research needs to be done on this as it’s extremely lacking in this field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you feel seen/heard in the Falmouth LGBTQ+ community/ outside?

 

I am acknowledged by people who are close to me. My name change to Chanel is now being used more often but occasionally people slip up and call me by my dead name which can be frustrating.

 

To you is ‘Queer’ a slur or an identity?

 

I personally don’t like this term, I mean some people may be fine being called this but I find it offensive and irrelevant.

 

Do you think being visible and out has limited or enhanced opportunities for you in your everyday/working life?

 

A bit of both, it had allowed me to finally wear makeup, clothing and accessories I have always wanted to wear however, as I mentioned earlier, people just don’t understand so see me as some fantasy or someone going through a phase.

 

Are labels a negative or positive thing?

 

I see them as negative, the main reason being because someone shouldn’t be identified based on gender or identity as it has nothing to do with it. Personality is what everybody should take into consideration.

 

Is coming out a necessary step anymore?

I believe it is. It allows you to get a huge weight off your chest, even if the reaction is bad or good, you know where you stand with people. If they will truly support and be there for you.

Thoughts on the criticism that LGBTQ+ terms are “too much to learn”?

 

It isn’t too much to learn in my opinion, if anything more and more people are facing this situation on a daily basis and feel very alone as they have no one to turn to. More education and awareness needs to be put in place.

 

Do you pass (straight/cis) & thoughts on the idea of ‘passing’?

 

I believe if I try hard enough I identify and “pass” as female. However, I don’t focus on this too much, as deep down I know how I feel and what opinion anybody has does not matter to me. You don’t need to try hard and wear heap loads of makeup to pass as female if you truly feel you are.


 

Interviewed By Kenisha

"The trans community is a very endangered and unpredictable community to be in"

© Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union