Who will best respect my authentic self?

by Allison Blaylock
Transgender Advice Columnist

Dear Alli,

I am a transgender adult in my late 40's (trans woman) and I am planning to apply to a graduate (professional) program at the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration for their MSW Program. Can you tell me how is this school toward trans people; is it welcoming or not so much?

Another school of my choice is Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Social Work. I know it is a traditionally Catholic University with their old traditions and attitudes.

I had been called ma’am at both schools of my choice, but only by those whom I contacted. How about other faculty and students? Would they all misgender me or what? I cannot notify everybody on campus, so they know how they should address me properly, either at Loyola or at University of Chicago.

From: Woman searching

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Dear Searching,

From my research, the University of Chicago’s harassment and discrimination policy says transgender individuals are protected. The policy has been in effect since 2006.

When I reached out to Loyola, they would not give me any feedback. They said they have gender studies programs; they have programs on campus, but never fully committed to stating if they have any sort of harassment or discrimination protections on the books via a policy.

Perhaps Loyola has more credibility as far as name on a degree than University of Chicago. But your degree does not mean much if you are not able to have a safe and truly open ability to learn and succeed.

Remember though, with any program and situation, policies can be written to protect; but if there is no enforcement accountability, the policy really means nothing.

However, I do think with what is going on in current events, University of Chicago would be a much better choice to attend as a trans woman. If it were me, I would choose University of Chicago.

Finally, Illinois does have a state based anti-discrimination law for the transgender community, which once again should feed into all the universities on state grounds, though it may not be a welcome feel when working on a Master’s program.


Copyright The Gayly – December 14, 2017 @ 9:30 a.m. CST.