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
Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 15414 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 15414 times since Wed Jun 23, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Court blocks Texas attorney general's demand for PFLAG data 2024-03-01
- From a press release: AUSTIN, Texas—Travis County District Court Judge Maria CantÀº Hexsel on March 1 blocked the latest effort by the Texas Attorney General's Office to persecute Texas families with transgender youth, temporarily haltin ...


Gay News

Appeals court allows Ind. ban on gender-affirming care for minors 2024-03-01
- On Feb. 27, a federal appeals court in Chicago allowed Indiana's ban on gender-affirming care to go into effect, removing a temporary injunction that U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued last year, ABC News ...


Gay News

Activists and others urge removal of Oklahoma schools superintendent after Nex Benedict death 2024-02-28
- TULSA, OKLAHOMA—Today more than 350 national, state, and local organizations advocating for equality across the U.S., alongside notable public figures, issued an open letter to Oklahoma legislative leadership urging justice ...


Gay News

APA adopts policy supporting transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals 2024-02-28
- From a press release: WASHINGTON—The American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a landmark policy affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults, noting that recent ...


Gay News

911 calls, videos show cascade of failures in Nex Benedict's death, GLAAD responds 2024-02-24
- "It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, ...


Gay News

Federal jury finds man guilty of killing trans woman in landmark case 2024-02-24
- In a groundbreaking case, a federal jury in Columbia, South Carolina found Daqua Lameek Ritter guilty of killing transgender woman Dime Doe after deliberating for almost four hours, The State reported. It is the first time ...


Gay News

WORLD Caribbean ruling, Pussy Riot, Russian raid, Canadian warning, anti-trans bar 2024-02-23
- The top court in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines dismissed a challenge to colonial-era anti-gay laws, Reuters reported. Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish—two gay men who had pushed to decriminalize ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Chuck Schumer, anti-marriage bill, drag event back on, military doctor 2024-02-23
- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)—and, as a result, several LGBTQ+-advocacy organizations dropped their opposition to it, The Hill ...


Gay News

Oklahoma non-binary student dies after being assaulted 2024-02-21
- Officials acknowledged there are unresolved questions about a 16-year-old non-binary Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, NBC News noted. Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, ...


Gay News

Center on Halsted to host trans youth & family summit 2024-02-19
- Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., has announced that its Trans Youth & Family Summit 2024 will take place March 16. This year marks the sixth annual event, which partners between Youth Services' Pride Youth ...


Gay News

WORLD South Africa murder, lesbian couple, Brianna Ghey, Eurovision 2024-02-16
- In South Africa, LGBTQ+-rights groups condemned the brutal murder of Diego Jacobs, a queer man in Cape Town, The Washington Blade reported. Reports indicate Jacobs, 21, was brutally murdered (reportedly by a former neighbor) on Feb. ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...


Gay News

Human Rights Campaign report releases new data on experiences of Black queer youth 2024-02-14
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in ...


Gay News

Col. Jennifer Pritzker comments on military museum move 2024-02-13
- Local transgender philanthropist Col. Jennifer Pritzker commented to Windy City Times about the impending move of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), which she founded in 2003, to Wisconsin. "At the end of the day, ...


Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros' 2024-02-12
- Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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.