Women and gender studies offers trans studies course

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

Cayla Bush/Editor-in-Chief

The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies will offer a new course in the fall focusing on the transgender experience.

Following the lead of other universities, the course is the first step for what the Director of the Center, Yesim Darici, hopes to evolve into a transgender studies initiative.

“We have 55,000 students, and this is the right place to do it. Of course, all these things come with the demand from students,” Darici told Student Media. “I saw a need and I initiated it and [Justin Grant] wanted to do it, so I said let’s do it.”

Grant, who is an instructor in the English department, says that the introduction to trans studies course was developed to offer a space that shows the lives of a group of students on campus.

“The course reflects the lives and experiences of transgender students here at FIU, which we don’t currently have a course or curriculum for this field of study,” Grant said to Student Media. “Thinking about the timeliness, we’re seeing this sort of cultural phenomenon where there’s this greater visibility of transgender individuals.”

Grant says that shows like Amazon’s “Transparent,” and former president Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address brings visibility to the transgender community, but not all of the hardships that face its members.

“We see poverty, harassment, discrimination and violence against transgender people, particularly against trans women of color. So this dichotomy between visibility and vulnerability in the community is something that needs to be fully addressed,” Grant said.

The course, according to Grant and Darici, will be an interdisciplinary approach to understanding topics such as trans activism, feminism and queer approaches to transgender issues and transgender film and literature.

“The course is not only exposing students to transgender issues and perspectives, but also gives students a broader understanding about their own subjectivities and to think about those relationships between sex, gender and intersexuality,” Grant said.

While the undergraduate course is only being offered as a special topics course right now, Grant and Darici hope that an increased demand from students will lead to the course standing on its own. They say that plans to develop a graduate course would follow in a couple of years if there is a demand for it.

“If students want more on the subject, they come and say ‘we need these initiatives, we don’t have any.’ Then I will sit with students and related faculty, and we will discuss what their needs are and what they want,” Darici said. “If a demand comes from the student body, it is real and it has to be answered.”

Image retrieved from Flickr. 

Be the first to comment on "Women and gender studies offers trans studies course"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.