Journal Article — Transgender Realities: Student Lives and Community Challenges — by Kimberly Smirles, Ann Wetherilt, Melanie Murphy, and Elijah Patterson




Transgendered students face a number of personal and social issues, a great deal of which emanate from people’s ignorance about transgenderism. As an educational community, it is the duty of its members to create a safe and supportive environment for everyone. Seeing the relevance of gender in all its forms and across disciplines is one way to raise awareness and broaden people’s perspectives on the complexity of living in a gendered society. Yet, a common misperception is that discussions about transgenderism are limited to specific disciplines or courses, such as Psychology, Human Sexuality, or Gender Studies. Even faculty open to such dialogs may not feel they understand enough to facilitate meaningful discussions in the classroom. In the current paper, scholars from Social Psychology, Religious Studies, and History, and a recent graduate in English and Secondary Education, provide a context for understanding how transgender issues can be addressed in the classroom and the larger college community. We share ideas, techniques, research, observations, and personal experiences. We also illustrate how transgenderism can be successfully integrated into a course by concluding with an example of the recent graduate’s work in a Religious Studies course.

Recommended Citation

Smirles, Kimberly, Ann Wetherilt, Melanie Murphy, and Elijah Patterson. 2009. “Transgender Realities: Student Lives and Community Challenges.” Pp. 61-74 in Teaching Transformations 2009 (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VII, Issue 1, 2009.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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