Conferences

Conferences are a particular problem for me, because of the increased importance of public restrooms during conferences. I am more afraid to use a public restroom during a conference than I am normally, because the people I could offend while using the restroom are more likely to be important to my career than those I encounter in other public restrooms. So far, the worst that has happened in a conference restroom has been a prolonged stare from someone, but I continue to restrict my use of conference restrooms out of fear. Furthermore, as a poor graduate student, I often do not stay in the official conference hotel, choosing cheaper accommodation further away. This means that I do not have the opportunity of retreating to my hotel room for a quick restroom break.

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Adjuncting while trans

I am a part-time instructor at two universities in a generally trans-friendly Midwestern city. For most part I’ve been treated well since I transitioned on the job. My colleagues and students have been respectful and they get my pronouns right 85-90% of the time. I haven’t had any issues using womens’ restrooms on campus, either.

The worst things? “Light” misgendering and continuing issues with HR related to making sure my name/gender marker has been changed across all platforms.

Even though I’ve continued to receive assignments, I’m fairly consumed by the fear that being trans makes my job security particularly tenuous.

As far as the classroom goes, my students are polite and respectful (to my face, at least… I have no impulse to find out what they are saying when I’m not around). I feel fortunate that I appear to still be an effective instructor.

Transitioning during PhD

I transitioned from female to male during my PhD program. The following things were all said to me by students, faculty, or staff during the first two years of my transition:

  • “Do I change pronouns now or wait until after the surgery?”
  • “You probably had better odds being hired as a woman, with all the political correctness.”
  • “I wonder if you’ll get better at your work, you know, more aggressive, when the testosterone kicks in.”
  • “So what do you do in the bathroom? Use a stall?”
  •  “I’m not the only one who still says ‘she’–so does X and Y. It’s not my fault.”
  • “You look like you’re in a good mood today–is it the hormones?”
  • “Oh, I ran into someone who I think went to your college. I asked if they knew you, and said you went by ‘[new name]’ now.”
  • “So what do you think about trans women? Like, their surgeries and stuff? Would you be into them?”

These individuals almost invariably identified as liberal and as allies.