23 April, 2014

Two great stories about coming out in academic settings

We've recently seen a couple of lovely stories from researchers who chose to come out at their academic workplaces. The first is from Z.L. "Kai" Burington, an arthropod taxonomist, who describes her experience coming out as trans* on her personal blog:

When I made my gender identity public to the department in early March, my anxiety was decreasing. Graduate students and faculty, with few exceptions, had positive reactions. Many knew or knew of Joan Roughgarden, an evolutionary biologist who transitioned in the late nineties. Some had personal experiences with trans or other queer people. I found friendships had actually strengthened due to my trust.

And the second is from sociologist Shawn Trivette, who describes his reasoning for coming out to students in an interview at Conditionally Accepted:

While personal experience is never the final authority in a field like sociology, it can be a useful illustrative tool, especially in helping students to grasp the real-world experience of sometimes abstract concepts and trends. Since I further theme my Intro class around race, class, gender, and sexuality – and ask my students to articulate their own identities along these lines – it seemed only fair to share equally.