lgbtq

Transgender Jewish Professor Writes Powerful Letter About Transitioning

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For Stephanie Burt, a Harvard professor, transitioning genders has been more gradual–which many transgender and genderqueer people can probably relate to, as the transition doesn’t necessarily occur in one “Ah-ha!” moment.

Stephanie Burt, formerly known as Stephen, is “one of the first out transgender people to serve on the faculty of the prestigious university,” according to The Forward, where she recently wrote an essay about her experience.

Burt’s essay is refreshingly open and honest, starting off saying, “As many of you know, but some of you don’t, after several years of presenting myself as a lady some of the time, and as a guy at other times, I am now a lady all the time.”

Burt then added that her transition doesn’t necessarily feel altogether new, since Burt has been referring to herself as a woman for quite some time already:

“It’s more another step along a familiar path, or a small leap in the direction I’ve been headed all along, than it is a swerve or a big reveal.

For some of us, gender transition means becoming a new person, or leaving behind your former life. That is not how this year, nor this decade of being out as trans, has felt, to me, at all. I’m the person I have always been, but I feel better about being that person, and I look more like her than I could before.”

Burt, who is married with children, noted that she is very lucky to have family and friends, and an employer, who support her — because that isn’t the case for many other trans people. But despite those lucky factors, Burt’s candor is helpful to others who may be transitioning, or trying to think of a way to “come out” to their community as LGBTQ-identified.

For me, as a non-binary femme, it’s especially comforting to hear from other people who talk publicly about their preferred pronouns, and how they want to be seen and addressed in general. It’s too easy to feel as if you should stay silent, or comply to how other people see you. This type of brave, radical honesty is freeing, not just for me, but for everyone.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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