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Transgender actor visits Lawrence

Scott Turner Schofield opens eyes with city-wide presentations

By Nadia Sanburn, Reporter

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The first openly Transgender actor on daytime television recently spent a week in Lawrence. Scott Turner Schofield gave a presentation at the public library, talked with trans and nonbinary students at both high schools, and had an event at the Lied Center. His goal: to educate the citizens of Lawrence about the issues transgender people face, and how to support them.

   His event at the library was packed. There, he gave his presentation called “Speaking of Transgender.” People of all orientations lined the seats in the auditorium, eagerly waiting to hear what Schofield had to say.

    When he took the stage, he began with a story of how, when he came out, the child he babysat came to terms with his orientation. The four year old used an analogy from a popular cartoon to understand it. “It’s like at the end of Scooby Doo when they pull off the mask!”

    Schofield then jumped into the basics. “People often ask when you transitioned… like it was just a thing that happened one day.” He says it’s the exact opposite. Scofield knew he was a boy when he was a child, and has been transitioning in small and big ways ever since. “It doesn’t matter what you call it- as long as you feel good.”

  Another large topic he covered was the issue of trans and nonbinary people using bathrooms of their choice. Schofield had a lot to say about that. “The bathroom issue was not an issue that we created,” he said. 70% of trans or nonbinary people report being harassed in bathrooms. “People have a very violent reaction to the trans thing.” Schofield said. “Safety is an issue.”

   “You are never overstepping if you are advocating for someone.” Schofield covered the topic of being a good ally as well. He recommends not using terms like “sir”, “ma’am”, “ladies” and “gentlemen.” When you see a young child, instead of asking “are you a boy or a girl?” you should ask “what is your name?” and “how old are you?” and use context clues to not misgender them. “We can’t know a person’s identity because your identity is inside you.” He said, pointing at his head.

  Later in the week, Schofield visited both of the high schools to talk to trans and nonbinary youth and had an event at the Lied Center. They were both well attended.

  At the library presentation, there was a small Q&A at the end of the event. One of the questions was “Do you have any advice for trans and nonbinary kids?” He saved this question for last. “You knowing who you are, and holding onto that knowledge- that’s your greatest power in life, and that’s going to change the world. So do it.”

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Transgender actor visits Lawrence