The SAGA Club Welcomes Guest Speaker Jude Salas-Jackson

Saioa Laverty, Reporter

On February 3rd, at 4 p.m. the SAGA club had guest speaker Jude Salas-Jackson talk about his experiences as a transgender man. Jude is a former Bakersfield College student and member of the SAGA club who now works in the field of biology. SAGA stands for Sexuality and Gender Acceptance, and the club has guest speakers weekly to discuss personal experiences related to sexuality and/or gender and share their wisdom to people in the club or anyone who is interested. 

To start off the meeting, Jude was asked to share his story and some details about his life. He began by sharing how he identifies.  

“My preferred pronouns are he/him but I am also okay with they/them pronouns” Salas-Jackson said.   

Jude goes on to explain that he was assigned female at birth, and for the first twenty years or so of his life he tried to embody society’s definition of what it means to be female, which he felt “never quite fit”.  

Jude was exposed to the terminology that described how he was feeling in a medical terminology course he was enrolled in at Bakersfield College. The course was discussing something called “Gender Identity Disorder”, which is now an outdated term. Jude said that he related to many of the descriptions of “Gender Identity Disorder” which helped him to fully realize that he is transgender. 

After Jude shared a little bit about his experience with determining his gender identity, he gave everyone in the meeting an opportunity to ask him any questions they have or share any other additional comments. There were many questions asked, which Jude was able to clearly answer. There were also many faculty members who came to congratulate Jude on his transition and also share his involvement in their class or whatever it was they were in charge of. 

One question that Jude was asked was if his studying of biology ever contradicted with his identity. Has being trans changed his view of biology? Jude answered that studying biology has actually allowed him to even further confirm his identity. He elaborated that a professor he had told the class that “sex and gender were social constructs”. There are traits that are more associated with being female and others more associated with being male, but these were all determined by society. In reality gender is more of a spectrum rather than an option between one or another. 

Jude’s story about his gender identity and discovering who he is was an inspiration to many, which is evident from the amount of faculty and students who came to congratulate him. His contentment with being himself was evident through his welcoming and warm personality which he maintained throughout the entirety of the meeting. Jude was confident and comfortable with who he was which was an incredible thing to see from a young transgender man.