By Sarah Handley-Cousins
Ten years ago, on October 2, 2004, Wells College, a tiny, women’s liberal arts college in rural New York State, announced its decision to become coed. Frustrated and angry, many Wells Women — myself included — protested by holding a sit-in at the main academic building in hopes of compelling the college board of trustees to reverse its decision. We refused to leave. We slept in our classrooms; we chanted and sang; we lined up from one end of the building to the other, arm-in-arm, our mouths gagged with black fabric to symbolize how we had been silenced by the Wells administration.
By Mallory Nicole Davis
In 2010, Thomas Araguz III, a Texas firefighter died on the job, leaving behind his two children and transgender wife, Nikki. The couple was legally married because although the state of Texas only recognizes heterosexual marriages, the state will validate a transgender union if the trans partner’s identification documents dictate that s/he is the opposite legal sex of the spouse. However, when Nikki sought survivor benefits after her husband’s unexpected death, Thomas’ family launched a case against Nikki, stating that Thomas did not know his wife was transgender. The suit argued that Nikki wrongfully deceived her husband, while lobbying for the nullification of their marriage and subsequently, Nikki’s request for spousal benefits. The case was complicated further by the prosecuting attorney’s interrogation of a deposition taken from Thomas in a separate court case—a battle over custody of his two sons with his ex-wife—in which he stated that he did not know that Nikki was transgender. In response to the scrutinizing of her late husband’s statement, Nikki insisted that Thomas lied during his deposition and pretended to be unaware of her transgender status in order maintain custody of his two small children. Nikki stated, “At the time, Thomas and I thought it was in the best interest of our children to lie. They were the center of (our) lives”. Whether Nikki neglected to disclose her trans identity to her husband or that the couple collectively decided to lie to the court during their custody case for the sake of their children, deception surrounding Nikki’s trans status is at the center of this legal case; and undoubtedly, her credibility will be diminished regardless of how the court decides.
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.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-Growing a 16th-century medicinal garden.
-Do you buy generic medicine?
-10 annoying habits of hearing people.
-Illness narratives in the 18th century.
-What about the Founding Mothers?
-American presidents and infectious diseases.
By Helen McBride
Last month, British journalist Suzanne Moore published an article in the New Statesman about female anger. The main point of her article was how, in her opinion, women tend to turn anger in at themselves instead of projecting it outward and targetting the source:
“We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape—that of a Brazilian transsexual.”
While invoking the image of “a Brazilian transsexual” was not her intention (I can only assume), Moore has unleashed a heady storm of controversy. Moore’s seemingly flippant use of the phrase has been seen by the trans community as offensive.