A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 1

By Dana Abdulhay

These interviews are the collaborative work of Dana Abdulhay (vice president of Phi Theta Kappa) and Daniel Gatchell (president of Phi Theta Kappa).
First, let me introduce Phi Theta Kappa to you. It’s an international honor-society club for two-year colleges. We are working on a PTK project called “Mile in Our Shoes,” which also satisfies a requirement for our “Philosophy in Action” class. The project is about giving the under- or misrepresented a chance for their voice to be heard, or anyone else that has something to say and share.
We had about five to eight questions, which we asked face-to-face or sent to the interviewees so they could send back their responses. Also, we took photos of the interviewees’ shoes to symbolically reference the name of the project.
‘Pho Pho’
I am Pansexual.

PTK- A Mile in Our Shoes interviews #1-2
Photo By Dana Abdulhay

Q. What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?
A. I think the friends/people I’ve grown up with and been around have been the biggest influences on who I am today as a person. Also, being able to connect with others through the internet/media/books have shaped the way I view the world and interact in it.
Q. What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?
A. I learned to listen to people with different experiences than me, and found that my love for reading from a young age allowed me to be more open to differences and actually have a desire to understand it, and not just tolerate it!

 

Q. Have you ever faced difficult challenges, that have prevented you from being who you are?
A. I’ve been lucky and privileged enough to be able to be myself in most aspects of my life. My biggest controversies have been within my family for my struggle with mental health since I was a child.

Q. Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?
A. I’ve faced prejudice more as a woman than I have as a member of the lgbtq community personally. I have witnessed prejudice, both subtle and outright prejudice towards various groups. The most prejudice I’ve seen is sexist, racial, and/or against the lgbtq community.
‘Al’
I am Transgender.
Q. What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?
A. It’s kind of hard to say this early on in my life, but definitely a lot of the people around me, Portland’s accepting environment, and exposure to LGBT friendly people and media.
Q. What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?
A. I usually have good experiences with people with different backgrounds. I like to ask polite questions, with their permission, to learn more about their background and how it contributed to the person they are today.
Q. Have you ever faced difficult challenges, that have prevented you from being who you are?
A. I’ll always be myself, but sometimes it’s hard to present how I want to. In some environments it just isn’t worth it to engage in the conversation of explaining my identity and my pronouns to someone if they use the wrong ones unknowingly. It can be hard to speak up when you don’t want any unwanted attention being drawn to an identity that isn’t really yours, even if it’s associated with you.

Q. Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?
A. Yes, I have witnessed prejudice, through others’ accounts, but also in person and on

PTK- A Mile in Our Shoes interviews #1-1

my own. The prejudice, when harmful, is usually towards people of minority groups. I have been a victim of prejudice, mainly by way of strangers unknowingly misgendering me, based on what I’m wearing or my general appearance.

Q. Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?
A. Yes, I have witnessed prejudice, through others’ accounts, but also in person and on my own. The prejudice, when harmful, is usually towards people of minority groups. I have been a victim of prejudice, mainly by way of strangers unknowingly misgendering me, based on what I’m wearing or my general appearance.

Additional interviews will be published in the next two issues of The Beacon.

 

 

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