An update from a student!



Submitted by H:

Jennifer Braly, a transgender woman, has given over thirty lectures in psychology classes at University of Arkansas Fort Smith about gender identity disorders. On Wednesday, April 18, my professor announced to her classes that Jennifer would be a guest speaker to our class on…

We discussed this today in our physio psych class to a certain degree because my professor was somewhat involved in this and (I came in to class late but I think) she was basically giving her side/the University’s side of the story.

All I know about this subject is based on what my professor said, some other students, the Lions Chronicle (UAFS News website), and STFUConservatives tumblr.  This could be wrong but this is what I gathered from everything I’ve heard about it today.  Apparently Jennifer was going to give a speech in class regarding the topic of transgender because they were talking about sexuality and whatever in class. And as she was giving it some asshole starts getting mad about it or whatever and a verbal fight broke out in the class to where it got cut off and Jennifer was told she had to stop her presentation and also could not give it like two other class hours for that class that she had planned on giving it in.  She was told she could take it to the Student Center and that anyone who wanted to see her presentation could go there.  So, she did, and the asshole bigot followed her there and started a fight there too.  So they told her she couldn’t give the speech at all, if I am understanding correctly.

So now she is protesting and everyone is sending Dr. Rinne (the Dean) emails and calling him and that kind of thing.

Apparently Jennifer has also in the past been told that she can’t use the women’s or the men’s restroom, that she must use only the (like 3) unisex bathrooms on campus.  She as also been denied roommates in the dorms (she is 38 so I am not sure why she would want to live in the dorms, not only because she is 38 but also because if she is trying to save money for surgery then the dorms is the worst place to live due to cost). 

So anyway, in class today some of the comments made regarding this situation were, “Well, it doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong to treat someone that way, that’s just how it is in our society and you just gotta roll with the punches.  She had to know that by making this argument/speech that people were going to get mad, people are just uneducated about that kind of thing here.”

So what was she doing by giving the presentation?  I think the objective of her plight to educate people on the subject by giving a presentation about it in a classroom setting (and later in a setting in which attendance was optional and therefore obviously of interest to those who attended) was, in fact, to educate people.  This is a small, primarily Christian town, and its towns like this that need education on such a subject.  But since some people don’t like it and choose to act on it (as in following her to her speech outside of the classroom), well, she should just accept that people around here are going to do that, oh well.  Thats just how it is around here, she should get over it.  Hmmm.  Fuck that.

Another person said “Well, this is the Bible Belt, and honestly I think its rude of her to flaunt that and throw it in everyone’s face that she is transgender.  Like ‘Oh, look at me, I’m transgender, give me attention and pay for my surgery!’ I don’t appreciate that being thrown in my face.”

UMMM. JESUS IS THROWN IN MY FUCKING FACE EVERY TIME I WALK DOWN THE HALLWAYS.  So since this is the “Bible Belt”, someone should be denied their right to free speech?  Since this is the Bible Belt, this woman should just “accept that people don’t like her lifestyle” and be subjected to horrible name-calling and harassment, not only during a classroom presentation but EVEN AT A PRESENTATION IN ANOTHER PART OF THE SCHOOL IN WHICH ATTENDANCE WAS OPTIONAL????   I don’t see anyone denying the rights of ministry groups that speak at school (can you imagine the backlash that an atheist in protest of a Christian group would get?).  I don’t see anyone asking them to stop their presentation because I don’t agree with it.  Fuck that.

Seriously, fuck my school and almost everyone in it.  This shit is fucking SAD.  What it looks like to me is that the school (as someone wrote on the school’s facebook page) “might be letting the local communities standards dictate the education and exposure to your student body.”

Like regarding the bathroom thing, my professor was like, “Well, anatomically she is male so maybe that is why the girls got upset.  They had seen Jennifer in other classes (giving presentations) and knew she was transgender.”  Okay?  Well she identifies as a female and that should be respected.  She’s not trying to fucking watch other girls pee or something when she’s in the women’s restroom.  There’s this radical notion that she is probably trying to fucking pee.  People are so fucking stupid.

Like I said, this is all based on things I heard so if something is wrong, well it’s based on what’s going around.

If this doesn’t get fixed then I have a feeling it is not gonna be good for the school.

Edit* looking back at our conversation in class, I think i was kind of discriminatory on her age because I said “I think her age is more of an issue than transgender, I wonder if had she been a traditional 21 year old student would she gotten this much of a reaction? Also at 38 why is she trying to live in the dorms?” and on that first statement I got “Are you stupid?” looks and a couple of “well I’m close to her age…” looks and I can understand why now because that’s kind of a stupid statement of me to make, looking back.  I didn’t realize she had done over like 30 presentations on this before.  Not that that even really matters… her age shouldn’t matter so I don’t know why I even said that.  However, I still stand by my statement about living at the dorms. D:

I wrote an email to the dean and I have not heard back. If you’d like to contact him, here is the original post with his office phone # and email address and here is the email template I made for writing to him. -Jess