Out as Trans in Academia

Here’s a nice piece by Rachel McKinnon in CHE about being out as trans in the classroom.

But let’s face it: If I don’t say something, there is a great big elephant in the room. My name has been changed, and there are features of my physical appearance that are undergoing change: clothes, hair, and other aspects. As I say, I’m “visibly” trans, for the moment at least, and I don’t want it to be a distraction without an explanation.

I also wanted to inform my students for pedagogical reasons. First, it’s relevant to my business-ethics course, since I’m teaching gender and transgender issues in the business context. I want to be able to draw on my experiences, including policy changes at my university and some local businesses, when I teach those issues.

Second, I think it’s important for students to see successful trans people in professional positions. The media portrayal and general public knowledge of us is terrible. All too often, the only reason to talk about trans people is to make fun of us, or to pity us because of the discrimination, violence, and hardships we encounter.

Of course many have gone before her, including Jennifer Finney Boylan and Miqqi Alicia Gilbert, amonstt (many) others.