Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 14651 times since Wed Jun 23, 2010
facebook twitter pin it 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.


This article shared 14651 times since Wed Jun 23, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Transgender Day of Resilience: Town Hall panelists tackle allyship, discrimination and immigration 2022-11-23
- Brave Space Alliance (BSA), Life Is Work (LIW) and Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC) hosted three free events across the city that they named—TDOR Weekend: A New Era, Together— to celebrate ...


Gay News

Trans Day of Remembrance 2022: Chicagoans remember Elise Malary 2022-11-21
- Dozens of community members and advocates gathered in Andersonville the afternoon of Nov. 20, braving cold temperatures to honor the memory of activist Elise Malary. The event, a collaboration between local organizations that included Chicago Therapy ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance releases statement on forensic audit of organizational finances 2022-11-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - The Board of Directors ("Board") of Brave Space Alliance (BSA) has sent a report to the Illinois Attorney General Office's Charitable Trust Bureau outlining the findings of ...


Gay News

GLAAD responds to mass shooting in Colorado Springs 2022-11-20
-- From a press release - (New York, NY - November 20, 2022) - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that killed ...


Gay News

HRC responds to fatal shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs 2022-11-20
-- From a press release - Colorado Springs, CO — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, responded to media reports of a fatal shooting at Club Q in Colo ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns 2022-11-20
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

WORLD Brazilian musician, top LGBTQ+ cruises, Elon Musk, anti-trans attack 2022-11-20
- Brazilian musician Pedro Sampaio revealed that he dates men and women, Out noted. Sampaio has 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, more than 5 million followers on Instagram and several music videos with more than 50 ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner 2022-11-18
- WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...


Gay News

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Marks 10 Years of Tracking Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, Recording 32 Fatalities in 2022 2022-11-16
- From a press release: WASHINGTON—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil ...


Gay News

AG Raoul files amicus brief supporting transgender athlete's rights 2022-11-14
- AG Raoul files amicus brief supporting transgender athlete's rights Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul was one of an interstate coalition of attorneys general filing an amicus brief challenging an Indiana ...


Gay News

WORLD Indian judge, marriage items, LGBTQ+-friendly countries 2022-11-13
- A judge who could pave the way to legalizing marriage equality in India took charge as chief justice, Bloomberg reported. As a judge on the top court, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was a member of the five-member ...


Gay News

HISTORY MADE: Oregon's Tina Kotek one of first lesbian governors in U.S history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SALEM — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hailed the victory of HRC-endorsed Tina Kotek in her bid to become the governo ...


Gay News

History made: More LGBTQ+ people elected to congress than ever before 2022-11-09
-- From an HRC press release - Washington, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hailed the victory of at least ...


Gay News

WORLD Gay governor, Tokyo partnership policy, Daniel Radcliffe, Korean first 2022-11-06
- On Oct. 30, the first openly gay governor of Brazil was re-elected in a runoff election, The Washington Blade noted. Rio Grande do Sul Gov. Eduardo Leite, a member of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Pageant ruling, AOC, gay journalists, Dwyane Wade, trans activist 2022-11-06
- A federal appeals court ruled that the operator of the Miss United States of America pageant (not to be confused with the Miss USA pageant) can't be forced to allow openly transgender women into its competitions, ...


 




Copyright © 2022 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






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

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.