Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 12544 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 12544 times since Wed Jun 23, 2010
facebook twitter pin it 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

Gay News

Lawsuit filed regarding trans exclusion for health benefits 2020-11-24
- Lambda Legal and Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC filed a federal lawsuit challenging Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois' (BCBSIL's) administration of a blanket exclusion of gender-affirming care in an ...


Gay News

New study: Military transgender ban hurts readiness 2020-11-23
--From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A new study has found that the current ban on military service by transgender Americans has harmed the armed forces, contradicting claims by the Trump administration that the ban was needed to ...


Gay News

Black transgender artist Heather Hills releases single, video from Trans Trenderz 2020-11-20
--From a press release - (New York, NY) Electro-pop/rap artist, Heather Hills, has released the new single and video, "Get Dun," on the Trans Trenderz label. "Get Dun" is not for those expecting trauma porn. "I got a cute beat and ...


Gay News

Day With(out) Art: Transmissions launches online Nov. 30 2020-11-18
--From a press release - NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2020 — Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS and HIV awareness through dialogue, art exhibitions and public forums, announces their ...


Gay News

PPIL extends Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy program statewide 2020-11-18
- During this year's Transgender Awareness Week (which culminates with the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20), Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is highlighting its Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) ...


Gay News

WORLD Trans deaths, China census, Rob Halford, Hungary measure 2020-11-16
- Globally, at least 350 transgender people have been killed this year (2020)—a figure that has risen since last year's total of 331, Forbes noted. The annual list, released for Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20) by ...


Gay News

MOVIES Trans-focused Born to Be to be released Nov. 20 2020-11-16
- Born To Be—a hit documentary on the country's first hospital center for transgender medical care—will open in Philadelphia on Friday, Nov. 20 (also the Transgender Day of Remembrance) with Gene Sickle Film Center Virtual Cinema. The ...


Gay News

Mama Gloria, about Chicago's elder, trans, activist icon, to screen 2020-11-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Luchina Fisher's Mama Gloria, an important and timely documentary about Chicago's trailblazing Black trans elder icon and activist Gloria Allen, will hold nationwide screenings during Transgender Awareness ...


Gay News

Victory Institute calls for LGBTQ cabinet appointee 2020-11-09
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute called on President-elect Joe Biden to appoint at least one out LGBTQ person to a Senate-confirmed Cabinet position and said it will provide the transition team with a list ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Rock Hudson, The CW, Jillian Michaels, Isis King 2020-11-09
- Among Kino Lorber's December DVD and Blu-ray releases is a three-movie set (with the 1953-54 features Seminole, Golden Blade and Bengal Brigade) starring the late actor Rock Hudson, a press release noted. Co-stars in the films ...


Gay News

Jill Rose Quinn first trans elected official in Illinois; wins for Cook County Circuit Court Judge 2020-11-03
- Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed candidate Jill Rose Quinn won her election to be a judge on the Cook County Circuit Court, becoming the first out transgender person ever elected in the state ...


Gay News

Sarah McBride of Delaware first trans State Senator in U.S. history 2020-11-03
- Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed candidate Sarah McBride won her election for the Delaware state Senate, becoming the first out transgender person ever elected to a state senate seat anywhere in the United ...


Gay News

Jennifer N. Pritzker, Erin E. Solaro wed 2020-11-02
--From a press release - Jennifer N. Pritzker and Erin E. Solaro were married in a private ceremony in Chicago on Oct. 31, 2020. Ms. Pritzker is President & CEO of TAWANI Enterprises Inc., Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army, Retired, and Founder ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Texas board, intersex portfolio, hate crimes, beauty queen dies 2020-11-02
- A Texas regulatory board reinstated protections that bar social workers from refusing services to LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, NBC News reported. The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, or BHEC, on Tuesday unanimously reversed an ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Being Earnest 2020-10-29
- Playwright book and lyrics by Paul Gordon, music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska At Skylight Music Theatre online at SkylightMusicTheatre.org. Tickets: $25. Runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Two things to remember when proposing to transform a ...


 



Copyright © 2020 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






About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.