23 March 2013

Calling MTF CUNY Faculty Members!

Last night, I had dinner with a friend who's in a late stage of her transition.  She teaches in the City University of New York (CUNY), as I do.  Although our situations are somewhat different, we have faced many of the same challenges in navigating university system.  

Aside from transphobia and pure-and-simple pettiness (and, to be fair, gestures of support) from unexpected as well as anticipated sources, we both have had to deal with administrators who didn't know or understand policies--or, in a few cases, chose to ignore them--in matters ranging from changing our names on our records to time off.  

My friend has said she learned a few things from my experiences, and that she hopes things will go more smoothly for the next faculty member who transitions on the job.  I said that we need to communicate with, not only those who are about to transition, but those who have already done so, while working in CUNY.

The problem, she said, is finding those other faculty members.  CUNY consists of eleven four-year colleges, six community colleges, The Graduate Center and a few other schools, scattered across a few hundred square miles.  

She thinks we should have an association of male-to-female transsexual/transgender faculty and staff members in the CUNY system.  I think it's a great idea, whether we are an informal association that meets for tea and discusses our experiences, or morph into a more formal organization sponsored or chartered by CUNY.  

Consider this post the first announcement of our intention to form such a group.  If you are an MTF faculty or staff member in any CUNY school and are interested, please let me know.  Also, if you know such a faculty or staff member, please feel free to pass this announcement on to her.  

The only real restriction we want to place on the group is that its members are actually in, or have completed, their transitions:  This is not a group for those who are questioning whether or not they are really trans. (There are such groups at the LGBT Community Center and other places here in New York.)  So, my friend and I thought that it would be best to limit membership to those who are, at minimum, taking hormones and have at least the intention of continuing their transitions.  We are not trying to be exclusionary; we simply want the group (in whatever form it takes) to be focused on some of the experiences shared by those of us who are transitioning, or have transitioned, while teaching in CUNY schools.