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By Elizabeth Reis
Earlier this term, I wrote a blog post for Nursing Clio about the ways in which teaching my class on Transgender Issues has evolved over the last fifteen years. I first taught this course in 1998 when very few students knew what “transgender” meant and only occasionally would a transgender student enroll; in 2013, not only are students well aware of the topic, but I typically have four or five who identify either as transgender or somewhere else along the gender continuum. Most everyone in the class is cognizant of many of the controversies that surround the subject, such as what pronouns to use for those who identify as transgender or gender fluid. The demographics of the classroom have made teaching the class easier in some ways, as I described earlier, but harder in others, as I will explain here.
By Elizabeth Reis
In 1998 I taught a new class at the University of Oregon called “Transgender History, Identity, and Politics.” Back then there were only one or two students who knew what “transgender” meant when I asked them on the first day of class. The others had enrolled either because the class hours fit their time schedules or because they had taken other classes with me and liked my teaching style (or had received a good grade!). I have taught the class several times over the past fifteen years, but this term I have noticed a distinct difference; it’s astonishing how the class composition and its general knowledge about the subject has been transformed in such a relatively short time. Change happens.