Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Trans professor makes history at Chicago State
2010-06-23

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


by MASON HARRISON

When classes begin at Chicago State University later this summer under the tutelage of Das Janssen, it will usher in the almost-one-year mark since the Fordham University Ph.D. began his teaching career at the South Side institution. Janssen was welcomed to the school, along with other newly hired individuals, earlier in the year at a reception in the office of the university's president. But what stands out about Janssen's addition to the university, among everything else that seems so routine, is that Janssen, a philosophy professor, is openly transgender—the first such addition, by all accounts, to the school in its history.

Janssen's hiring may help to beat back any perception that predominantly Black institutions like Chicago State are not welcoming environments for LGBT students and faculty. Janssen told Windy City Times that he never set out to be a trailblazer but that the trail at Chicago State "isn't that hard to blaze" anyway because "I haven't had the same troubles here that I've had at other institutions like with bathroom use. People want to make sure that I'm safe here."

Janssen's remarks come as little surprise to others in the transgender movement. "It doesn't surprise me at all," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "There is a myth that Black people don't like gay marriage or LGBT people. I know that there is some difference in the numbers [ between Blacks and whites on the issue of marriage equality ] but I think that that's all just hogwash. There are white and Black people who are tolerant of LGBT people, and higher education has become a great place to transition."

Kylar Broadus, a transgender business professor at a historically Black university in Missouri, echoed Keisling's sentiments and called the perception that Janssen would be anything but welcomed at a school like Chicago State a "misnomer." Broadus recounted his experience with being the first known individual to make the transition on a historically Black campus as a positive one, and believes that acceptance among Blacks of LGBTs is solid.

Janssen, 41, first came across the word "transgender"—a word that would help define his life—at the age of 33, and began to transition from female to male about "three or four years ago." But it isn't Janssen's gender identity that gets the most attention in class; it's his race. Janssen, who is white, simply "politely corrects" students who may refer to him as "she," but aggressively challenges his students "who don't want to be told what to do by white guys in ties at the front of the room." Being one of those white guys in ties at the front of the room, Janssen tells his students that they'd be better off listening to him because he's trying to tell them how to resist just that.

Part of his overall experience at Chicago State has been a lesson in "what it means to be white." Janssen, who enjoys hearing "white jokes," never knew before coming to the university that "there are stereotypes about white people" because of growing up, he noted, in a predominantly white environment on military bases across the country and later in southeastern Virginia. But above all, Janssen's concern is not with race or gender identity, but with knowing that his students are able to learn philosophy from him.

Janssen [ pronounced "yahn-sohn" ] came to Chicago State after learning about an opening in the school's philosophy department from an online job board operated by the American Philosophical Association. Since arriving at Chicago State, Janssen has littered his office with books on transgender identity, philosophy and other matters. "I'm enjoying Chicago and I'm looking forward to Pride. This will be my first Pride in Chicago," he said. Janssen's office window sports a small Pride flag sticker, which undoubtedly is as much an expression of pride as it is a signal to those passing by that his office is a safe space for LGBT students on campus.

Janssen's first name, Das [ pronounced "dahs" ] , is a shortened version of an online moniker he gave himself years ago. The moniker is derived from the expression "dasein"—which means "existence" or "being there"—that the German philosopher Martin Heidegger made famous. But Heidegger is more than the source of a name for Janssen. His first encounter with Heidegger and philosophy in general was during an undergraduate course on Heidegger at Virginia's Old Dominion University. "I took the class and felt stupid," Janssen laughed, "but I got an A."

But Janssen didn't stop there. "I did my dissertation on Heidegger," he added, and Janssen is known in online circles for his disagreements with his subject. But, disagreements aside, Janssen has possibly adopted Heidegger's famous term for existence because, after all, Janssen is truly pleased with his.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Reports: Wachowski back in the Matrix 2019-08-21
NATIONAL Trans death, ACA, 1957 gay wedding, serial killer 2019-08-21
Study finds older transgender men who are pregnant risk depression, lack of care 2019-08-15
NATIONAL Trans march, Danica Roem, cannabis company, lesbian tech event 2019-08-13
Trans ex-student prevails in restroom case 2019-08-11
Study Looks at Adolescent Experiences for Transgender Women of Color 2019-08-08
ACLU opens arguments for trans prisoners' healthcare rights 2019-08-07
Education board chair on pro-trans executive order, agency plans 2019-07-31
WORLD Intersex survey, Russian activist, Polish publication 2019-07-30
Pritzker signs restroom signage bill 2019-07-27
SHOWBIZ Indya Moore, Janet Jackson, Cazwell & Miss Peppermint, Andy Cohen 2019-07-24
House passes Military Non-Discrimination Amendment 2019-07-11
Illinois trans woman freed from prison 2019-07-10
SHOWBIZ Lance Bass, trans actor, Miley Cyrus, 'Queer Eye' 2019-07-10
ART Darling Shear on artistic journey, making history 2019-07-07
Civil Rights Groups Urge Supreme Court to Protect LGBTQ Workers 2019-07-03
High court workplace cases affect LGBTQ veterans, military families, national security 2019-07-03
NATIONAL Parade protests, trans billboards, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' 2019-07-02
Chicago Trans couple Precious and Myles Brady Davis expecting a baby 2019-07-02
Pritzker signs order that protects trans+ students 2019-06-30
Transgender county residents now able to use restrooms, other facilities without showing ID 2019-06-27
City salutes LGBT veterans, Army veteran speaks for trans military service 2019-06-26
Women's lawyer group installs new leader, has trans-focused program 2019-06-26
Zoe Spears is 10th trans woman killed this year 2019-06-20
Zoe Spears is 10th Black trans woman slain in 2019, NBJC responds 2019-06-19
Janet Mock signs historic Netflix deal 2019-06-19
WORLD Conversion therapy, Bermuda march, trans officer, Belgium ban 2019-06-18
Court lets Trump trans ban stand and orders new review 2019-06-15
Court lets Trump anti-trans ban stand, and orders new review 2019-06-15
Nursing student writes the book on trans healthcare 2019-06-15
Death at Rikers Island: Her name is Layleen Polanco 2019-06-12
Dignity president blasts anti-trans Vatican statement 2019-06-12
New report reviews laws, policies affecting LGBTs in U.S. territories 2019-06-11
Latest WorldPride additions include Janet Mock, Madonna 2019-06-07
Panic-defense bills introduced in Congress 2019-06-05
NBJC on Murder of Chynal Lindsey, "We Are Still Fighting For Our Lives" 2019-06-05
Trans deaths are real deaths 2019-06-05
WORLD Trans woman murdered, gay-sex laws, trans mayor 2019-06-04
NATIONAL Conversion therapy, honoring trans pioneers, case against ex-guv 2019-06-04
Trans asylum-seeker dies while in ICE custody 2019-06-03
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.