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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Matthew: He/Him/His

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Transgender student Matthew DeSalvatore majors in English and Asian Studies and has a minor in Japanese. 18-years-old and from Weymouth, MA, he hopes to eventually become an English teacher or edit Japanese literature in a Japanese publishing house. A writer and avid cosplayer within Boston, he considers himself particularly outgoing. DeSalvatore participates in a number of clubs and activities on campus, such as the Freshman Leadership Institute and Jumpstart, the latter a University of Massachusetts Boston program through which university students can help teach preschoolers.
MM: Would you like to share about your experience as a transgender/gender variant individual?
MD: Coming to college as a transgender individual is a particularly daunting task for anyone and there are some aspects on campus that have been very accepting and there are other problems that have been completely impossible for me to find a positive outcome to. I had a very good response from my professors when–before class–I was able to explain to them via email that my birth name and sex would be different than those the roster presented. I’ve also had a very good response from classmates and Jumpstart co-workers with little to no issues. But when it comes to things like bathrooms and knowing where the bathrooms are–I have issues. The Queer Student Center is the only place that lets people know where unisex bathrooms are. On top of that, my email address, my blackboard, and all pieces of my identification have to be in my birth name. Nothing causes me more issues than having to see that name over and over again on a daily basis. And these problems aren’t hard to fix, but they are hard to live with.
MM: What is your opinion of the current transgender/policy at UMass Boston?
MD: This policy is something I’ve looked over again and again. It touches upon sports for transgender students, bathrooms, and name change issues. These are issues that the trans population on campus are struggling with. Change is imperative and I fully support the QSC proposal.
MM: Why should the QSC proposals be implemented?
MD: Students of any gender need to know where to use the bathroom–it’s a basic fact of life that you’re going to have to pee on campus eventually and no one should have to go into a restroom they feel uncomfortable with or fearful in. Sports policies are also necessary for these students because no student should feel like they can’t get involved on campus and be just like everyone else. No one should feel like they can’t get involved with five activities in their freshman year, something the school encourages during orientation. Lastly, the name change policy is so important because something gender-variant and trans students struggle with so often is dysphoria. For so many people dysphoria can be triggered by seeing or being referred to by that “dead name”.  That is not an extra struggle these students need. On top of that–even as someone as comfortable with their gender as I am–I don’t like to tell people my birth name. When my school email address–the one teachers’ use to contact me–contains my birth name, I am terribly uncomfortable. I don’t want to give someone another name to call me, especially when it’s a name that’s caused me so much pain.
MM: Did you feel your voice was heard during the drafting of the QSC proposal, or discussion that initiated it?
MD: Absolutely. Anthony Flynn, the coordinator of the Queer Student Center, asked for me to look it over and see if it needed anything or needed to be changed in any way and he listened to what I had to say. He also left it in the Queer Student Center with a note telling anyone to look it over and leave notes where they thought it needed work.
MM: What is your history with the Queer Student Center?
MD: My history with the Queer Students Center is very new. I got involved in September, but I got involved within the first week. It was my first semester in college, and I was scared and nervous about how I’d be treated. I was instantly in an environment that accepted me and would fight for what I needed. This is why this proposal is being pushed, not just for me, but for all the trans students–students on campus now–students looking to have their future on this campus. We need this.
MM: Any further thoughts relevant to this subject?
MD: From an 18-year-old transgender boy going to this school, there is no one who cares more about these issues. And they may seem stupid or trivial, but they are everyday struggles. These problems exist and they can be so detrimental. I want to see that changed.