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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

Ray: He/Him/His

Ray: He/Him/His 
Transgender student Ray Vegger majors in music. 18-years-old and from Marblehead, MA, he hopes to eventually teach music or produce a radio show. He considers traveling his favorite activity. Vegger believes these experiences have helped him become an increasingly open person in other areas of life, such as the sexuality and gender spectrum.
MM: Would you like to share about your experience as a transgender/gender variant individual?
RV: I came out around freshman year of high school and slowly continued coming out to people on a grander scale. At first, only close friends knew, then select classes, until finally in junior year I came out in front of the majority of the high school faculty whilst presenting about the gender/sexuality spectrum at a faculty meeting. That same year I used the Massachusetts Common Name change law to be able to change my name in the high school system and on my transcript without a formal name change document, so by senior year I was ready to be the “friendly neighborhood transman.” I talked about my gender identity to the senior health classes alongside members of PFLAG and helped organize a memorial day for Leelah Alcorn shortly after her suicide.
When the time to apply for college came up, [the University of Massachusetts Boston] was the most supportive in receiving my legal name change documents after I had sent in mismatched documents (as the Common Name change law segment I used did not apply to SAT scores nor colleges in general). As for my experience in classes at UMB, the professors to whom I have spoken about my identity have been extremely supportive. On the other hand, it is hard to label every student as accepting due to various backgrounds. Certain students’ reactions have caused genuine discomfort; for example, ignoring me when I correct them on my pronouns, or choosing to not use any pronouns although I am not gender neutral. Finally, going to one select bathroom can get frustrating because I have to traverse the school campus just to find a single stalled bathroom where I know I wouldn’t get ridiculed. Although we have a list of these bathrooms, it is hard to understand where they are exactly as it’s my first year here.
MM: What is your opinion of the current transgender/policy at UMass Boston?
RV: I like what Anthony Flynn, the coordinator of the Queer Student Center, has drafted so far, but as for a current transgender policy, I have not seen one in plain sight. This is something Anthony highlights in the current draft [of the QSC proposal]. We have sister schools–for example, UMass Amherst–which have easily accessible links to trans-inclusive policies. I’m also not certain which laws or policies would allow me to use the bathroom of my gender, the already built men’s room. Either way, if there are laws which allow me to follow through with this, they don’t guarantee my safety.
MM: Why should the QSC proposals be implemented?
RV: If anything, the changes Anthony is proposing can be used as a stepping stone to more specific policies/other extensions of policies. This is how it was for myself in high school. After pointing out the common name change law, it became publicly available to others and the high school began pursuing a gender neutral bathroom policy.
MM: Did you feel your voice was heard during the drafting of the QSC proposal, or discussion that initiated it?
RV: Indeed. Anthony reached out to transgender students almost immediately. 
MM: What is your history with the Queer Student Center?
RV: I have been with them since day one of my college career, a few months now.