Tag Archives: university

Poet Creates First Class for Transgender Poetry

Trace Peterson, a poet at the forefront of the push for transgender representation in poetry, will soon pioneer what she says is the country’s first course in transgender poetry.

Transgender lives and the experience of being transgender is something which not only is difficult for cisgender persons to understand, it can sometimes be difficult for we ourselves to understand. But this is part of the human experience, really – understanding ourselves and our place in the world has been a challenge since the earliest eras of civilization, and poetry has assisted with that communication for millennia.

Enter Trace Peterson, editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and co-editor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. And in an effort to create visibility for transgender people, as well as to create a literary context for their work, Ms. Peterson will teach what she says is the first course in transgender poetry at Hunter College (of the City University of New York) this fall.

At the link below you can read a poem by Ms. Peterson, as well as listen to her reading her own work.

(Thank you to Julie C. for the news scoop).

Source: Poet creates first class for transgender poetry

Transgender Student Visibility has Missouri and Kansas colleges Making Accommodations

Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover kick-started a national conversation about what defines gender and what that means. Yet college campuses have had conversations about the issue for years. At public colleges in the Kansas City area, unisex bathrooms and gender-neutral dorms have opened up. Wording in some anti-discrimination policies has been tweaked to protect transgender students.

This is a nice article about the great strides local colleges have made towards accommodating transgender students, especially Kansas City’s own UMKC (disclosure: I am an adjunct professor at said school). The article features Luke Harness, Sandra Meade’s and my co-host on “Trans Talk” on 90.1 KKFI, and Luke as usual has interesting things to say about his efforts to improve the lives of our people.

Source: Transgender student visibility has Missouri and Kansas colleges making accommodations | The Kansas City Star The Kansas City Star

Women’s Colleges Address Transgender Applicants

Calliope Wong
Don’t worry, it’s good news. Over the last five years a steady and gradual improvement has been seen in the acceptance of state universities for transgender students, but to a large extent private colleges have been exempt from this change – especially in the case of sex-segregated private colleges.

Now that is starting to change. While some colleges did admit transgender students in the past, it was often done under the table in a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” environment. In other words, an environment which has both the student and the administration walking on the metaphorical eggshells.

Over the last month we’ve seen two women’s colleges come out and proud, announcing that they would be accepting transgender students in 2015. Mills College in California and Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts are some of the first, and certainly not the last to do this.

“What it means to be a woman isn’t static,” says Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella, who announced the admissions policy change at the college’s convocation ceremony. “Early feminists argued that reducing women to their biological functions was a foundation of women’s oppression. We don’t want to fall back on that.”

Of course these decisions are not without criticism by alumni.

The policy shifts have not been fully embraced within Mount Holyoke’s extended community. Some alumnae voiced their displeasure on the college’s Facebook page following the announcement.

“Mount Holyoke is a women’s college, and it should admit women. Period. Full stop,” wrote Pamela Adkins, a Tampa, Florida, resident who graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1979.

In a follow up email, she said: “There are plenty of other places for people who are not women to go, and they should go there. Don’t negate the reasons Mount Holyoke was founded and for what it has been known since 1837: providing a superlative college education — for women.”

In short, a transphobic statement. At least she was honest about her feelings.
Women’s colleges address transgender applicants – AP State News – The Sacramento Bee.

Two Schools, Two Acts of Discrimination

Here are two short stories, one takes place at a high school, one at a university, and both involve trans-discrimination.

In the first report, senior Anais Celini at Martin Luther High School in Queens, New York, was told her boyfriend, transman Nathaniel Baez was not welcome at their school prom because “his transition was unconventional and not beneficial.” The second word throws me, and is reported as a quote by the Huffington Post. What do they mean by “beneficial?”

Instead of fighting the decision the couple have decided to not challenge the school and hold their own private prom elsewhere. Honestly, it’s difficult to find fault with the couple – while on one side I wish they would fight so they would pave the way for those who follow them, at the same time they are just kids, and kids have enough stress and hassle as it stands without throwing into everything a media sensation and spending a lot of time with lawyers.


In our next story we have the case of transman Jayce M., who is seeking permission from George Fox University, Oregon, to move into the male dorm after he completes transition. The university has told him that he isn’t welcome in the dorms with room mates, and should stay either off campus or in a single rooms.

The university’s position is somewhat baffling:

“George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community, and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitments. The student’s request to switch from female-only on campus housing to male-only on campus housing is one that many institutions would struggle with.”

They would rather have a transman living with women rather than with men – and they believe this is the “Christ-centered” way of doing things? Really?

Couple Plans Own Prom After School Bars Transgender Boyfriend From Attending.

Women’s College Admissions: Are Trans Women Left in the Dust?

DartmouthThis article creates some dismay in me, in that it appears that every single women’s college is unique, and they all have very different criteria for acceptance and continuation of transgender students. For example:

  • Hollins University will allow transwomen with SRS and gender marker changes to attend, but not transmen. In fact, a woman who transitions to male while already enrolled is not allowed to graduate.
  • Smith College requires a gender marker change to be accepted. However, unlike Hollins University, a woman who transitions to male while already enrolled is allowed to graduate.
  • Yet at the same time, Smith College *does* allow males from Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts to attend classes at the all-women’s facilities.

Thankfully transgender students are allowed at any State institution in the United States (with perhaps a couple of exceptions), although what gender they are recognized as may vary from University to University.

Women’s College Admissions: Are Trans Women Left in the Dust? :: EDGE Providence.

Two Small Trans Victories – More Dominoes Fall

DominoesTwo small victories which are worth noting. First, the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, commissioners voted 6-3 to add employment protections for transgender workers. Their new policy now bans discrimination based on “actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance, or behavior.” The vote came down along party lines, with the Republicans sadly repeating the mantra of fear, uncertainty, and dread involving transgender persons. From the article:

Yet, Republicans Bill James, Karen Bentley and Matthew Ridenhour each objected.

James said the policy would allow “men in dresses” to use women’s restrooms.

“I don’t think that Mecklenburg County employees — the female ones — are going to want to be sitting in a stall in a bathroom and see a man in the stall next to them,” James said. “Just because a guy dresses like Little Bo Peep does not mean he gets to go into the women’s bathroom.”

That, from the “party of Lincoln?”

The second article regards a transgender student at the University of Manitoba, who won a victory which forces the University to enter mediation with him regarding overt discrimination by professors. From the article:

According to Leggett’s complaint, a professor once explained that she didn’t have to refer to him by anything but his birth name.

Another suggested that if Leggett had a moustache, she would consider calling him a man.

However, the University did win on other points, including “complaints about a Facebook group and unprofessional behavior.”

Students Rally Behind Transman Professor At Azusa Pacific University

I reported on this barely a month ago – in a nutshell, theology professor Heather Ann Clements of Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian institution, came out as a transman. Changing his name to H. Adam Ackley, he knew there would be trouble, and sure enough, the university was less than pleased and he was asked to resign his position. However, in this news, it turns out his students are fighting back, saying they want Professor Ackley to stay.

It’s a little interesting from a personal note – I am an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering myself, and I transitioned in mid-semester – just before the midterm, in fact. Several of my students made a point of coming to me privately and telling me how good of a professor I was, and how much they supported me, offering to give me their vote of confidence if my department had any problems. It turns out my department welcomed me with open arms, so it was all good…nonetheless, things could have gone like they are for Professor Ackley.

Students Rally Behind Transgender Professor At Azusa Pacific University (VIDEO).

Harvard Business School’s First Transgender Student Speaks Out

What’s almost as interesting as this testimonial is the fact that more and more, The Atlantic magazine has been presenting pro-transgender articles.

One thing I like about the article is this statement by Del, the transgender student:

When I met with Del in Cambridge on a crisp fall evening, I could not help but wonder why she has chosen to be open about being trans at all. She is a strikingly beautiful blonde whose history is imperceptible when you look at her. Del agrees that telling her story puts her at a disadvantage: “Even the mechanics of sharing my past are difficult. The only exposure the average person has to transgender issues is from overwhelmingly false media stereotypes. We haven’t had our Will & Grace moment yet, so coming out usually needs to be accompanied by a lot of education.”

That’s what I’m trying to do as well. Be out and open to educate, and help everyone who hasn’t reached the point of being out.

Harvard Business School’s First Transgender Student Speaks Out – Elizabeth Segran – The Atlantic.

Transgender Azusa Pacific University Professor Reveals Male Identity

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.

Transgender Azusa Pacific University professor reveals male identity | Mail Online.

ACLU Files Federal Complaint for Transgender Student Denied Bathroom Access

Wilson_AlexDo people still not get it, even in 2013? The university simply is not going to win, they’re going to lose money and time and public relations cred, and for what? So they can torment this poor woman who simply wants to be able to go to the proper toilet? Words fail tonight.

There is a short video segment at the link below.

ACLU files federal complaint on behalf of transgender PTEC student denied bathroom access | wtsp.com.

University of Pittsburgh Faces Lawsuit from Transman

This story is really strange, I must admit. If even a quarter of the complaints are true, Pitt sure seems like a trans-hostile place. And if they gave the plaintiff’s name to the FBI over a bomb threat…I hope he wins a few score million.

Pitt faces suit from man questioned about threats – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.