Dr. Heather Ann Clements had some news to give to her students – that she was transgender. It’s scarily reminiscent of how I broke the news of my transition to my UMKC students. Except in my case I was welcomed, and in Clements – now Heath Adam Ackley – he fears being fired for being a transgender man. However, the University has not come out and said anything negative in public, so we will just have to wait and see.
A short vignette of a transgender life. I selected it because this statement from her is one I could have written almost word for word, less the “PhD” (like Howard from The Big Bang Theory, I only have a Master’s in Engineering…)
“My mantra from the time I was 5 was ‘don’t get caught,’” she says, pondering the ostracism inherent of a less tolerant age. When McComb began the long haul toward a Ph.D., she worried about her reputation and future and partitioned her life along gender lines. She says that, though male privilege took her far in the sciences, where, “in a male-dominated system, it is difficult for women to be heard and make a difference,” she certainly didn’t have cisgender privilege. “I would be surrounded by males, and I felt like I didn’t fit in at all.”