To The Editors:
I am writing with regard to Mugsie Pike’s recent editorial about housing options for gender-variant students. I am a transsexual student who lives off-campus. I’m not trying to give anyone a sob story here, but I left high school at age 17 unwilling to even consider returning to school again. One of the most squarely unappealing things to me about seeking higher education was dealing with the issue of gender-segregated housing, as well as gendered bathrooms and the regular gender discrimination and harassment that I receive as an out transsexual.
What do I mean by “out transsexual”? In my case, I mean you have probably seen me on campus and wondered whether I am a boy or a girl. You have probably looked me up and down in a bathroom, or been uncomfortable as you tried to figure out what my anatomy is. Forced to choose, you would probably not know whether to put me in a men’s dorm or a women’s dorm — and I think we’d agree that it would be easier if I didn’t have to choose, and I could simply share space with other human beings! That is the real-life situation that Mugsie Pike is talking about.
I waited five years to go to college, and I am lucky to have had the financial privilege and family support to make that decision. I consider myself an exception, as most transgender people I know regularly struggle to access education, housing, and jobs. Policies such as Northwestern’s that refuse to accommodate gender-variant students are absolutely discriminatory and ultimately have the effect of pushing transgender students out of higher education. This is real life stuff, Northwestern; we are real people. I hope the administration decides to get some common sense and abide by its own non-discrimination policy.