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View Diary: Transwoman sues California university after being expelled for fraudulently being herself (122 comments)

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  •  Maybe the easiest answer is to have boxes for both (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rserven

    sex and gender on all applications of all kinds. While simplistic,without having to  make a major accomodation, this would give people 4 combinatons to choose from and cover a higher percentage of people than having only the current 2 choices. In this case, sex at birth and preferred gender would not have matched.

    This process would not change society, but it would at least be more consistent with the way people actually are.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:03:51 PM PST

    •  I don't think it's anyone's business (6+ / 0-)

      what is or isn't in someone's pants unless you are getting mutually nekkid with them by consent or are part of their medical team.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:25:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! /nt (3+ / 0-)

        "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

        by LucyandByron on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:34:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Honest question, then... (0+ / 0-)

        I readily admit to little knowledge of transgender issues/life, so please excuse me if this question offends...but it seems to me that the "no one needs to know" argument can't really work in many collegiate environments, particularly where dormitory life is concerned.

        Given a choice of same-sex dormitories, which usually have common bath/shower facilities, which does the transgender person choose?  How should the school handle roommate assignments for transgender students, since many schools require (at least) double occupancy in dorm rooms?  

        I don't see how you can answer those questions without coming to the conclusion that the school DOES "need to know" in some cases...it may not be relevant to this particular case, but that's what came to mind when I was reading "no one needs to know" in the context of college administration.

        •  What college did you go to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Horace Boothroyd III

          that there were no stalls with doors and shower curtains on the showers?  Or students couldn't pay a bit more for a private room?  Why do you think anyone needs to see me naked at any time without my consent?  As a night owl, I prefer showering in the middle of the night anyway - I get the place to myself.

          I lived off campus, but on trips to other schools - sports,  etc. - I used the facilities for the gender I am.  No one saw anything out of the ordinary, just a modest young man going about my business, same as anyone else.

          The last time I saw an open group shower as the only facility I was in grade 8.  When I use a gym I shower at home - but even my gym had a couple of stalls for modest people.

          I had roommates often in apartments - there is this magical thing called A DOOR.  I used it.

          At the marina where I normally live we also have shared facilities.  There are shower curtains with small changing areas and doors on the stalls - just like we had at college.  I wear clothing to and from on the docks. I use a urinal like any other man - or I use a stall with a door as needed. Because I'm not an exhibitionist or stupid.

          So why exactly do you think anyone "needs to know" given the general arrangement of doors and shower curtains as needed?

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 11:47:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You concentrated on the shower question... (0+ / 0-)

            ...and kind of ducked the roommate question.  I'll readily grant that "shower privacy" may or may not be an issue, depending on the school and/or dorm in question.   Among the schools my kids have attended or visited, they've seen everything from communal showers in gyms/pools (as you mentioned) to "single set of shower stalls per wing" in the dorms to 8-, 4-, and 2-person suites with shared showers.  I can only say that I've seen more than a few shared-facility dorm envionments where maintaining one's privacy to the degree you suggest/desire would be a near-Herculean task.  (In my daughter's freshman dorm, even your "night owl" approach would be difficult - the baths/showers are high-traffic well into the wee hours of the morning!)

            I think the roommate question is somewhat trickier.  You answered, with a hint of snark, that you had roommates in apartments, and that you used doors to your advantage.  Well, that isn't possible in the vast majority of college dorms.  As we evaluated colleges with my kids, they all had shared sleeping quarters for freshmen.  Single occupancy was available in the common-bathroom dorms (at a higher cost), but multiple occupancy was REQUIRED for all suite-style dorms.  I imagine (and I'll apologize in advance for any presumption) that the perfect dorm situation for a transgender would be single occupancy in a 2-person suite with its own bath, but that simply isn't available.  

            Toss in the fact that many schools still require freshmen (at least) to live on campus, and you have the school pairing up roommates who first meet on move-in day.

            So, I keep coming back to how a college could be expected to assign roommates for transgender students without knowing the situation.

            Again, I mean no offense, and I'm not trying to be argumentative.  I'm trying to think through this and mentally balance the rights of a transgender student against the rights of a non-transgender student and the rights/responsibilities of the school, and this seems a particularly tough nut to crack in that context.

            •  Um - NO (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rserven, Horace Boothroyd III

              I don't have a reason to be naked in front of other people.  I said I used a door in the bathroom.

              Some people may like to run around undressed - I never have.  

              I also thing trans students are smart enough to tour the facilities and make sure that the options available allow them sufficient privacy.  I would not choose a school with open showers.  I just wouldn't.  Not because I'm trans - but because I'm a modest person to begin with.  

              I've been to college as both genders.  I still picked the schools with 2 person rooms and 3 shower stalls with curtains down the hall - even though the second time I lived off campus - it was cheaper than the dorms.  COST was my deciding factor on my housing - not worry about being "found out."

              I went to a single sex religious school for a while too. It was also like the colleges I attended - 2 to a room, showers and toilets down the hall with cubicles and curtains. With a roommate. He never knew.  Neither did any of the school faculty.  What is it you think you or anyone else need to know?  How does being outed make anything better or safer?  It sure as hell doesn't for us.

              Trans people don't always look as "different" as you seem to imagine we do.  I walk on the beach or go to the pool in swim trunks. I've had no surgery, and I'm not an "A" cup either.  I simply know that bodies come in different shapes and sizes and I go on about my daily life as normal - because I AM NORMAL.

              Why do you keep trying to make us the weird ones?  What is it you think we are going to do other than get dressed, go to class and get and education?

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:13:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not trying to make anyone "weird" at all... (0+ / 0-)

                Here's the thing - if I want to process the notion that these are civil rights, and that transgenders should (as many here have asserted) be treated no differently than anyone else AND that the college has no reason to even know that a student is transgender, then the logical conclusion for this part of the question of collegiate life boils down to, "all students request and receive dormitory assignments in accordance with their gender," does it not?  If that's the case, what does that mean for the NON-transgendered student who winds up sharing a dormitory room with a transgender?  Do they have a right NOT to have a transgender roommate?  

                The very concept of transgender is based on the distinction between sex and gender; well, does the college assign dorms/roommates on the basis of sex, or that of gender?  Do other students have the right to say "I want a same-sex roommate?"  More importantly, how can the college be expected to handle the matter WITHOUT knowing the particulars?

                As I said at the beginning, I'm way out of my element here; I'm asking the question, "OK, if this whole question of transgender students and higher education is a civil rights issue, what potential conflicts arise from that determination?"   To be sure, there really aren't that many - but this seems a pretty big rock in the path.

                •  why should we have to out ourselves (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rserven

                  at the risk of being expelled, raped, beaten up or killed? Because that is what happens to us when people who are narrow minded bigots find out - violence and body shaming.

                  I'm really having a hard time understanding what kind of scenario you are envisioning that requires knowing the state of your roomies genitals.  If I was a bio male with a micropenis or born without testicles - how is that your business exactly?

                  What difference does it make what is in my underoos when I'm sleeping, studying or talking to my hopefully new friend/roomie?  How does my gender versus sex make a difference exactly in the scheme of things?  I'm there for education, not to check out my roomies ass - you don't get to request straight roomie only or no blacks, Jews or hispanics - why is this any different?  

                  Why does my gender status make a difference unless you think something unsavoury and sexual is going to occur?

                  As I said before, I'm a naturally modest man - so my roommates have never seen me naked.  Why would they? I change underpants after I shower.  I wear undershirts - at most you will see my underclothes as I put on a new shirt and pair of short pants changing in our shared room.  

                  Are my bare trans feet going to somehow cause a scene? My hairy armpits?  Or my calves - which you can see anyways because I wear short pants pretty much year round?

                  As a society we assume people who look male are male without demanding a penis check and people who look female are female without breaking out the speculum.  Why should my right to privacy and body integrity be violated to reassure someone else?  It's not like I'm going to be making my medical condition the hot topic of the dorm - but you can sure bet my roomie might.  And that could cost me my education - or my life.

                  Where is my right to be left alone to live as successfully as I can in your concern for their right to be a bigot?

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:44:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Take a look at what you just said. (0+ / 0-)
                    Where is my right to be left alone to live as successfully as I can in your concern for their right to be a bigot?
                    That's my point - you aren't "left alone" in a shared dormitory room, and neither is your roommate.  It's one thing for you to say that you're modest (and--for the record--I did walk around the dorm shirtless on occasion, but never naked), but isn't it fair to say that not everyone may be as modest as you?   You keep saying that no one needs to know except on your terms, but I think we must acknowledge that not everyone operates on the same terms.

                    In cases where folks DON'T operate on your terms of modesty--be they gay, straight, trans, or whatever--do their roommates have a "right to be left alone to live as successfully as they can"?

                    If someone says, "I just can't be at ease sharing my room with someone of the opposite sex, regardless of their gender," are they automatically a bigot?

                    •  you aren't making any sense. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rserven

                      Most colleges have a week where you can switch roommates - that's not some rare thing, it's pretty standard, even back in the 80s and 90s when I went to college.  A personality conflict has nothing to do with underwear status.

                      I don't care if you DO walk around without a shirt on, that is normal for males.  I do on beaches and and pools.  So nipples - so what?  What is it you think you are going to see and be offended by?  Are you saying I can't walk around like a normal male if I choose to because nipples?  That's pretty stupid since you claim the right for yourself.

                      Again, you seem to be arguing there is something you are supposed to know about your roomies genitals whether you see them or not - and keep avoiding the question - WHY?

                      Yeah, they are.  Because they won't know the difference unless someone TELLS THEM.  Why do you need to tell them or be told?  Why is it so important to you to out other people?

                      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                      by Mortifyd on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:36:41 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  what is it explicitly that scares you about this? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rserven

                      Just quit beating around the bush and say honestly what bothers you about trans people sharing space with other humans.

                      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                      by Mortifyd on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:39:25 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  What is wrong with you? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mortifyd, rserven

              non-transgender students do not have the right to deny us an education because of our challenging their ignorance.

              "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

              by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:27:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sorry, but when did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

                I've been trying to reconcile the three major assertions I've seen in this diary and its comments, namely:

                * "transgenders should be treated no differently from any other student"
                * "there's no reason for the school to even know that a student is transgender"
                * "it's about gender, not sex"
                from the perspective of those services a college is called upon to provide to most (or all) of its students.  I said, in an earlier comment, that I realize this question is not relevant to the particular case discussed in the diary; I raise it because I'm thinking beyond the private CBU and wondering how this would be handled consistently across public institutions of all sizes.  I also assumed that the real test(s) would come as transgendered students received equal treatment across ALL services provided to students by the institution.

                So, my thought process was basically, "OK, let's assume that all three of those arguments are correct; in what areas of collegiate life would that present a potential problem to the college?"  (Please note that my intitial assumption was one of acceptance.)  Off the top of my head, the result is a rather short list, most of which I think have fairly straightforward answers.  In no particular order:

                1) Student health services - if the student expects to receive medical treatment (especially emergency treatment) from the school, the medical staff needs full disclosure.  (This disclosure seems both logical and inescapable.)

                2) Intercollegiate athletics - if a transgender student wants to participate in sex-separated sports activities at an NCAA member school, the NCAA transgender policy must be followed; thus, disclosure is required.

                3) Public facilities - as mentioned earlier, locker rooms, pools, and gyms often have communal dressing/bathing/shower facilities.  (A bit of construction work could create more privacy.)

                4) Fraternity/sorority membership - This seems more of an issue for the fraternities/sororoties than it does for the college itself.  

                5) Sex-specific programs, student organizations, designated scholarships, etc. - these would have to be clarified and/or changed to account for transgendered participants or applicants.

                6) School housing - of which the vast majority is assigned by sex, not gender.  Furthermore, some schools require all freshmen to live on campus, while others require all students to live on campus throughout their academic career.  Finally, single occupancy in school housing is not always available.

                To me, the last one seems the most difficult, by far, for a college to manage IF all three of the assertions I mentioned are correct.

                Please believe that I'm not trying to make anyone feel "weird", nor am I trying to "deny...an education" to anyone; I'm simply thinking through the question in its entirety, and this struck me as a major point of conflict between "treated like every other student" and "the school doesn't even need to know."  It also seems like the issue most likely to affect the largest number of students directly.

                As a result of this thought experiment, I'm leaning toward the notion that there is no reason for transgender students to self-identify to a public college/university UNLESS they plan to make use of particular sex-specific services/activities provided by the school.  Of the sex-specific things that came to mind, two (medical care and intercollegiate athletics) pretty much demand disclosure, as I see it; I'm just trying to think through how the school would handle what I see as the toughest one (school housing).   The problem is exacerbated at those schools which require students to live in on-campus housing.  For instance, Indiana University requires freshmen to live in University housing; how should they handle housing requests from transgender students?  (Note that there is an exception process, but that transgender status is not included as a qualifying criterion; that would have to be requested on a case-by-case basis, which would compel disclosure.)  This also seems to the point at which the question of individual student rights is likely to be the most in conflict between individual students; if the school assigns roommates in sex-specific facilities, does a student have a right NOT to have a transgendered roommate?

                I NEVER said I didn't want this to work, but I am thinking about how it could/should be made to work at public colleges/universities.   If you read malice or condescension in my comments, none was intended.

                I'll shut up now.

                •  Start here unless you would prefer a text format. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mortifyd, rserven

                  Just try and forget everything you think you know about Transgender and we will start from scratch.

                  "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                  by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:53:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  if you just treat us as the gender we are (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Horace Boothroyd III, rserven

                  and quit trying to make us into some other category - then none of those things have to be an issue for anyone.  You are actively looking for ways to make things harder for us in every single post you've made.  

                  I'm a man.  I should qualify for male scholarships.  I should and did participate in sport as a male. I registered for selective service as a male - because MALE.  I lived in a dorm room at a single sex religious school as a male with a male roomie - because MALE.

                  There is a straight fraternity right now raising money for their newly inducted FtM brother to get chest surgery - because HE chose to disclose to them - he wasn't excluded because he needed surgery.   Disclosure to medical personnel is covered under HIPPA and can't be disclosed to the school at large - it's private, just like anyone else's heath information - being trans is not a public health issue.    

                  I think what you don't want to actually come out and say is that you consider MtFs to be men.  You don't give a shit about FtMs - we can pass, a man with a vagina isn't threatening - but oh boy, what if she's hot and still has a cock.  

                  This isn't Bosom Buddies.  They are women, not men trying to hook up with the ladies or get free peeks.  And in the case like the young woman in the diary, she's been living female since the age of 13 in Catholic schools.  She didn't have a normal male puberty.  She's not rocking a big ole man penis or body shaving every day - and women shave their legs in the shower, not in their dorm room.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 10:05:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have made no assumptions about you... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rserven

                    and I think I've treated our differences of opinion courteously.  I didn't throw any personal attacks your way,  and I never summarily dismissed anything you said.   I don't mind being told that you think I'm wrong about something, but please don't presume that you can read my mind and know what I do or don't "want to actually come out and say."  

                    After watching the video that Horace embedded above, the thing that really jumped out at me was the notion that what they called the "authentic gender model" is a range in every characteristic.  I'll admit that when I've thought about such things in the past, I've tended to think in binary or, at most, trinary terms; it's unsettling  (to me) to think about sex, gender role, gender identity AND sexual orientation alike in terms of broad ranges. For me, that unsettled feeling almost always means that I have more thinking to do...

                    I do think, after reading everyone's responses to my comments, that a lot of these situations are going to boil down to what people DO, not what they ARE.  I've never been a fan of excess, and (like you) I'm basically a modest person.  I do think that some combinations on those scales could lead to problems in an environment like a college dorm (as would any of them if taken to extremes), but I can also see that many would not.

                    I'm going to chew on this some more...thanks for your responses tonight.

                    •  I'm actually a very binary person (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rserven

                      where others are not - but I don't have an issue with how other people express themselves, I'm just binary. One to the other, no muss no fuss.  As you can see from the video, many other people are not so binary.  KOS is the ONLY space I consider semi safe to be open about my transition.  The rest of my life, electronic and meat spaced is not.  Like I said - very binary personally.

                      I have an extremely low tolerance for people trying to throw up roadblocks - which is what your posts seemed to be doing.  The more we tried to explain, the more you seemed to dig in on other people having a right to our private lives and using them to destroy us - which is why I got angry.

                      I've been attacked, beaten up - had blackmail attempted - so it's not a light thing for me to be told someone else has a Right to get in my undies without my consent.  Perhaps now you can see how horrifying that is to us.  We have a much higher than average risk of violent death due to bigotry.  Much higher.

                      One of the points of going to college is to expose yourself to new concepts and the beginnings of the "real world" where you can't be sheltered from things you think are "icky" or "hard" - most large corporations have transgendered people working for them - whether you know it or not.  I seriously do not think that a dorm is that much of a big deal if you can separate sexual behaviour and attraction from body parts.

                      I'm glad you found it interesting.

                      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                      by Mortifyd on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:15:20 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  It's difficult enough (5+ / 0-)

      To figure out one box (for some).  Also, I doubt anyone really wants to be institutionally outed like that.  Can you imagine having to put that information on a driver's license or passport?  For many transgender folk, the ability to live a life consistent with their preferred gender is important.  I don't see that being a useful requirement.  Why not just let her live as a woman?

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