Erick Jackaman (20, half British, half American), Liberal Arts and Sciences student
Size of room: 20m2
Rent: 450 Euros
As openly transgender, gender plays an important role in Erick Jackaman’s life in Maastricht. “I easily could have not told anyone, but I was aware that I didn’t want it to be a secret.” Secrets, he explains, are simply too stressful and he didn’t want to have to lie about his childhood in case it came up in a conversation. Though being transgender is not the first thing he tells new people he meets (simply because he doesn’t deem it important to mention), Jackaman now, after one year at UCM, assumes that everyone knows and doesn’t hesitate to bring it up in conversations.
Looking around Jackaman’s room, trans digital print art as well as his small queer library stand out. Either made by trans people or related to the subject, Jackaman consciously wants to start his own small queer art collection. He explains that he sees himself in some of the pieces, one example being a sketch of a vulnerable looking man with small breasts, which remind Jackaman of himself a few years ago. Others he finds simply beautiful.
From his library, he recommends the book Refused by Elliott DeLine, one of the few works of fiction about transgender people (“Everyone else gets fiction – I want fiction!”), and the 2011 film Tomboy. Jackaman describes this film as beautiful, sweet and clever, about a French child just being a child.
Jackaman is not only interested in gender in his personal, but also in his academic life. Through this, he has gotten to know a lot about the movement and its origins and has been confronted with his own experiences through academic and personal conversations with friends. He enjoys these conversations, finding that most people are very friendly and respectful when approaching him. To Jackaman, gender, which he defines as ‘cultural aspects which are believed to derive from sex characteristics’, needs to be focused on more in academia and beyond, and should be examined more in an interdisciplinary context, as gender influences many aspects of life.
“I’m bored of trans and other gender issues to be put under feminism.” Feminism, he explains, is a movement, gender is a concept of conversation that needs to be discussed more in its own right. According to Jackaman, there is a strong focus on feminism, an eye-catching word often at the center of gender-related debates, and there is a tendency to let other gender questions fall under this term. Instead, gender should be the umbrella under which feminism falls.
Jesler van Houdt