Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Transgendered student enjoying acceptance

Anthropology+major+Charles+Petersen%2C+protesting+the+Center+for+Bio-Ethical+Reform%27s+anti-abortion+demonstration+at+Cerritos+College+on+Monday.+Petersen+is+a+transgender+student+that+values+the+freedom+of+choice.+Photo+credit%3A+David+Jenkins
Anthropology major Charles Petersen, protesting the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's anti-abortion demonstration at Cerritos College on Monday. Petersen is a transgender student that values the freedom of choice. Photo credit: David Jenkins

Anthropology major Charles Petersen, protesting the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's anti-abortion demonstration at Cerritos College on Monday. Petersen is a transgender student that values the freedom of choice. Photo credit: David Jenkins

Anthropology major Charles Petersen, protesting the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's anti-abortion demonstration at Cerritos College on Monday. Petersen is a transgender student that values the freedom of choice. Photo credit: David Jenkins

Dennis Osorio

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It seems we are living in a retrograde society at this point of the 21st century, where we have homophobic representatives and citizens that do not protect and respect other people’s choices and beliefs when these are not shared.

Charles Petersen, anthropology major, is a Cerritos College student who feels for the LGBTQ community in a direct way; because he’s a transgender student who has finally found common ground in a judgmental society.

He grew up as Savannah, and it was not until he was a 16-year-old high school student that he realized he was “trans.”

He said his transition took a lot from him but that it was not as hard as he thought it would be since his family was very accepting.

“Not until very recently I started telling everyone just because I got tired of trying to hide it, it’s very exhausting,” he said.

When growing up as Savannah, Petersen did not have healthy relationships and was very introverted.

It was not until his transition that he started gaining confidence in himself and became very open to talking to people.

He said, “I feel much more like a person, before I felt like I would only go through the motions of doing things, now I feel like I have a goal, a personality.”

Petersen is one of many fortunate transgender students who had a somewhat mellow transition at least with his family; he says that his transition has brought them closer.

He said that when he opened up to everyone else besides his family it was through social media and he was able to see the change in his relationships and how people would choose sides on whether they would want to accept him the way he was or not, especially with people whom he shared time with in his previous work as a McDonald’s manager.

“I remember when Caitlyn Jenner just became a thing, I got to listen to all my coworkers who didn’t know I was transgender talk about Caitlyn Jenner and they were horrible,” he expressed.

That made Petersen want to quit his current job because he felt he was pretending to be something he was not.

He reaffirms that he has not lost his identity. He knows his sexual preference, he identifies himself as a bisexual or a pansexual person.

Sauny Monge, teaching major, met Petersen in an English class and they both became friends.

She says that she did not see Charlie any different when he opened up to her about being transgender.

“I didn’t see him any different, he is a great person.”

She says that their relationship grew stronger because he opened up to her with such trust and that the treatment was equal both ways.

Monge also agrees that people should not judge based on gender and that everyone should be treated equally.

Charlie wants to reach out other transgender students saying that it’s always going to be a struggle but it does not have to be a negative struggle.

He says, being true to yourself will help you connect with others and gain confidence and overcome that fear. As far as the rest of the students, he encourages everyone to educate themselves.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions politely. Don’t immediately go for what is in the pants. Listen to people, rather than assume things,” he shared.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Transgendered student enjoying acceptance