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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Outrageous Case of Anti-Trans Discrimination at Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Posted by on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Unbelievable:

Despite the complete support of her colleagues and direct superiors within Southeastern Oklahoma State University's English, humanities and language department, Rachel Tudor, a professor of American and Native American literature, modernity and theory, humanities, composition and philosophy, has been denied tenure and informed that her employment will be terminated as of the end of this spring semester.

According to Claire Potter, a professor of American studies and history at Wesleyan University, Tudor has an amazing record as a scholar, teacher and colleague at the university and has been highly recommended by the tenure review committee. However, the dean and vice president of academic affairs deem Tudor's "lifestyle" inappropriate, so they have taken actions to make sure Tudor leaves.

Tudor is transgender.

Guess what? The issue—again—is bathrooms. Bathrooms and religious bigotry:

After her complete transition, the human resources department told Tudor she could only use the single handicap bathroom located quite a distance from her office. As a result, she could only assume that Douglas McMillan, the vice president of academic affairs, made such an outrageous request. In the past, for instance, he had openly asserted that Tudor's lifestyle "offends his Baptist beliefs." Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, but when officials hide their true intentions in rewritten policies and administrative bullshit, such cases are hard to prove. Unfortunately, this is where Tudor finds herself.

There are no workplace protections for trans people in Oklahoma so Tudor may not have any recourse or standing to sue. And it could be perfectly legal for this piece of shit to harass and discriminate against Tudor and cite his "Baptist beliefs" as the reason.

More on this tomorrow. This cannot go unanswered.

 

Comments (45) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
AppleCapital 1
"Lifestyle"?? Really??
Posted by AppleCapital on April 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM · Report this
rob! 3
I don't want to IN ANY WAY diminish the long slog up the tenure mountain endured by Prof. Tudor (and while transitioning, to augment the spinning-plates achievement), but her talents might be better recognized somewhere else (I know, a loss for those in OK who need and appreciate her).

However this evolves, I hope Douglas McMillan's waking hours are filled for the next couple of years with thoughts of either a) how to defend his sorry ass in court, and/or b) where he might get a job as a shuttle-bus driver to at least keep the lights on. And may what should be his sleepy-time be filled with thoughts of how to be a better human in the future.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on April 28, 2011 at 12:21 AM · Report this
4
Are there any cases of transmen being given the bathroom bullshit, or is it always the girls who get shuffled into nowheresville?
Posted by ChiTodd on April 28, 2011 at 12:22 AM · Report this
rob! 5
Also, speaking as someone who's been on the wrong end of a nuisance suit (it was nothing personal, just a really dinky disputed financial matter) and jumped through hoops for nine months only to have the plaintiff walk away when it became clear I wouldn't be extorted, I really think McMillan should be sued even if there's little hope of winning. GIve him something to do besides write vindictive policies.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on April 28, 2011 at 12:35 AM · Report this
6
I have almost nothing but time (and a nice relationship and a part time job in my area). How do I chop wood and carry water for equality? In my view it is the best fight going, working on our biggest human rights issues . . . This is the stuff that gets me angry, is there anything to do but shout at the internet or become a lawyer?
Posted by Sifu http://www.sifumark.com on April 28, 2011 at 1:02 AM · Report this
Harry Lime 7
She is also in the news for having just won an Outstanding Scholarship Award: http://www.ntxe-news.com/artman/publish/…
Posted by Harry Lime on April 28, 2011 at 1:02 AM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 8
Can he really FORCE her to use a single, particular bathroom on campus? Exactly what is he going to do to stop her from using the female's bathroom, and what will he do if she does?
Posted by Cynic Romantic on April 28, 2011 at 2:03 AM · Report this
9
@8: since he appears to be sacking her over this issue, does that answer your question?

Fuck, this is appalling - and all the more so for the fact that her impressive record as a scholar is apparently trumped by bigotry when it comes to tenure. I hope her colleagues are organising over this and are undeterred by the bullying of management.
Posted by brideoffrankenstein on April 28, 2011 at 2:23 AM · Report this
10
Again, Dan, you are confusing the important trans issues here. The bathroom thing is annoying and wrong, yes, but in terms of discrimination the huge transgression here is that she was DENIED TENURE AND FIRED. Please have perspective.
Posted by Marrena on April 28, 2011 at 2:54 AM · Report this
11
This is disgusting.
Posted by zee on April 28, 2011 at 3:15 AM · Report this
Cynic Romantic 12
@9 My bad for not focusing on the bigger issue.
It appears she has no recourse under the law, and if it was me, I'd be looking to work somewhere that valued my skills rather than hating me for irrelevancies. That universities loss is another's gain.
Posted by Cynic Romantic on April 28, 2011 at 4:05 AM · Report this
13
I think the bathroom bit is incidental.
Posted by paulus on April 28, 2011 at 4:31 AM · Report this
The Max 16
Speaking as a white male Protestant planning to attempt to escape the south at the earliest comfortable opportunity, personally hope the publicity helps Dr. Tudor get snapped up by that perfect college in a nice sane state where her Trans- status evokes nothing worse than mild curiosity and the occasional uncomfortable moment.
Posted by The Max on April 28, 2011 at 5:39 AM · Report this
17
I've always been baffled by the bathroom issue, because there's no epidemic of arrests for transpeepers, transgropers or transrapists in the bathrooms. If this were a reality-based problem (like, say, drunken driving), there'd be evidence of a problem. It doesn't seem to be reality based.

Take it from a transexual woman: what do transfolk do in the bathroom? Pee, poop, wash their hands, comb their hair, chat with friends if in a group, leave.

What's it all about, you transphobes? Me no get....
Posted by The Not-Angry Tranny on April 28, 2011 at 5:43 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 18
Award winning teacher, her colleagues coming out on the record, the dipshit openly discriminating against her in public? She should have a decent starting place to bury them in suits and see him driven from his post.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on April 28, 2011 at 6:43 AM · Report this
20
@18: You seem to be living in a fantasy land where state and federal laws protect against discrimination based on gender identity. Here in Washington State, sure. In most of the US? Nope.
Posted by digitalwitch on April 28, 2011 at 7:03 AM · Report this
23
Any suit would be likely be promptly thrown out. Unless you have a written contract that says otherwise, or protections like tenure, your boss can fire you for Any. Reason. He can roll a dice, he can fire you because your voice is annoying, or because you are vegan. As long as it's not race/religion/national origin or sex discrimination (NOT including transfolk and homos) you are SOL. We need to focus on passing ENDA, and not calling for $-wasting lawsuits that will go nowhere because the laws we're suing under don't exist yet.
Posted by pdx2dc on April 28, 2011 at 7:38 AM · Report this
Lissa 24
@21: Period Troll, sweet pea, 1) You are, of course, misquoting Mr. Lincoln, and 2) if you plan on using this statement as a way to catch Dan out in some way, you do realize it applies to you as well don't you? Is this your shy little way of indicating that you know you've lost, and are finally joining the side of the angels in support of Marriage Equality? It's been a long road for you hasn't it? You must be so embarrassed when you look back at your past jackassery! But never mind Period Troll, all is forgiven, and that worn and tattered anniversary card that you've been clutching to your bosom all these months like a fetish, can finally be mailed to Dan and Terry.
Posted by Lissa on April 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM · Report this
Canuck 25
Of course, this makes me think of the wonderful Jenny Boylan, who was featured in Dan and Terry's book, and who transitioned after 10 years of teaching at Colby. As she discussed at length in her own book, the only problems were deeply personal ones, of friends wondering if the things they could discuss, and whether the nature of those friendships had changed. As far as the College was concerned, she was still completely welcomed and accepted. As we keep learning in these posts, all appalling in their various ways, is that the south, and parts of the mid west are like another country (perhaps that's my New England bias showing, maybe I should say the coasts are like another country...). If this woman doesn't want to be a trailblazer, then I have no doubt there are plenty of unis or colleges that would snap her up.

Not Angry Tranny @17, when I was 15, I convinced my dad to take me to a conference with him. Along the way, he told me about one of the University's star football players, who had recently become a woman (this was 1979.) It turned out I was frequently bored at the conference, and so spent a lot of time talking to people and reading. At one point, I lamented not seeing this student who had become a woman (I'm not sure what I was expecting), and he replied, "But you just spent the afternoon with her, sweetheart." Which was an exaggeration, but my long-winded point was, upon finding out that the person who had been applying lipstick next to me at the bathroom mirror was this woman, my only feeling was complete disappointment...so, I think anyone who has a problem with it would have to be taught to have a problem with it.
Posted by Canuck on April 28, 2011 at 8:20 AM · Report this
Fistique 26
Though I have to concur with everyone who's said that the real issue is the discrimination and firing of an exemplary scholar, I also have to join @17 in wondering what the hell it is about bathrooms that so many bigots' transphobia seems to revolve around them.

Is it the fact that gender-separated bathrooms are pretty much the only remnant of de jure separate-but-equal treatment for men and women?
Posted by Fistique on April 28, 2011 at 8:25 AM · Report this
mixy 28
@12 I agree. A professor that outstanding ought to get picked up by a school that appreciates her for her excellent credentials. But the tenure committee ought to speak out on behalf of this person because clearly they were able to get past her being trans, and they supported her tenure.
Posted by mixy on April 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM · Report this
scary tyler moore 29
what are you waiting for? get to it, flying monkeys! google this clown's email address and start writin'!
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on April 28, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Lissa 30
@17 and 26: Yeah, what is up with that? It's the same argument I see on some of the radfem blogs too. My opinion is, that much like Vegas, what happens in the stall, should stay in the stall. The obsession some people have with the bathroom habits of the transgendered is both rude and creepy.
Posted by Lissa on April 28, 2011 at 9:02 AM · Report this
31
@17, @26: It isn't just bathrooms. It's marriage. It's gender markers on birth certificates, licenses, passports and in government databases. It is any of the few remaining places where gender is overtly relevant in society, culture or government.

The reason the bathroom issue gets so much attention from the haters is it is one of the only issues that can be portrayed as affecting "innocent bystanders."
Posted by digitalwitch on April 28, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Asparagus! 32
@17

You're probably a reasonable, intelligent person who generally engages with people who's perspective is based on experience, evidence, and knowledge. As a result, you're seeking to understand the perspective of those you disagree with....

HOWEVER...

Don't try and understand bigotry in rational terms, it will create a contradiction singularity in your brain, and the universe will cease to exist.
Posted by Asparagus! on April 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 33
Seems to me that the outrage should be coming from the student body. This prick's predjudices are depriving them of a qualified instructor. Random email from Seattle or Eau Canada won't move the needle much, methinks.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on April 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM · Report this
scary tyler moore 34
students already know about this, looking. the rest of the world doesn't.
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on April 28, 2011 at 9:21 AM · Report this
debug 35
Not OK, OK
Posted by debug on April 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
36
1) According to this article, "McMillan joined the University in 1990 as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling." Would hate to be counseled by that biggot.
http://www.se.edu/news/2009/douglas-mcmi…

2) Here's all of Mr. McMillan's contact info (taken from his CV):
Douglas N. McMillan
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Graduate Dean
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
1405 N. 4th Avenue, PMB 4137
Durant, Oklahoma 74701-0609
Office: Administration Building – A307
580-745-2206
Fax: 580-745-7474
dmcmillan@sosu.edu

When calling/writing I would stress that we don't know for sure that he's the reason behind the firing (he's presumed to be responsible, but certainly worth expressing displeasure and asking him why Dr. Tutor is being fired.

3) Ok back to the bathrooms, I believe there might be a legal loophole here that you could sue over. Trans-gender folk are currently (and erroneously) diagnosed with a mental illness which might mean Tudor is protected under the Americans with Disabilites Act that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation. You could argue that segregating Dr. Tudor to an inconvenient bathroom violates the law.
Posted by stuck in boston http://www.nothing.com on April 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM · Report this
37
Nor did it go unanswered. Letter in the mail (yes paper, ink, & a stamp). Join in:

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
655 Research Parkway, Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Posted by LukeJoe on April 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM · Report this
38
This outrage demands a suit. I hope that Professor Tudor has been in contact with NCLR, GLAD, and/or Lambda Legal. Some courts have held that discrimination against trans people violates the 1964 civil rights act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
Posted by JayJonson on April 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM · Report this
balderdash 40
The Baptist lifestyle offends me.
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on April 28, 2011 at 11:53 AM · Report this
41
@31 sez "The reason the bathroom issue gets so much attention from the haters is it is one of the only issues that can be portrayed as affecting "innocent bystanders.""

Ahh, the poor, tender "innocents." I remember debating Lou Sheldon's daughter on CNN years ago. I forget her first name, sorry. But she was arguing that kids in school were the "innocents" who needed to be protected from a transitioning teacher we were discussing. Seems like for some social conservatives, *any* presence by transfolk affects "innocent" bystanders. It's funny how the concept of innocence always finds its way into these culture war issues. Is that a subtle way of attributing some guilt to the (trans)person affecting the "innocent" person? If the affectee is innocent, the affector must be guilty.

@32 sez "You're probably a reasonable, intelligent person who generally engages with people who's perspective is based on experience, evidence, and knowledge. As a result, you're seeking to understand the perspective of those you disagree with...."

Awww, shucks, thanks. Too true.

Posted by The Not-Angry Tranny on April 28, 2011 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Lissa 42
@27: That's Miss Ginger to you, you little tease.
Posted by Lissa on April 28, 2011 at 12:38 PM · Report this
BEG 43
Douglas McMillan's lifestyle seems centered around making other people miserable. I find his lifestyle offensive.
Posted by BEG http://twitter.com/#!/browneyedgirl65 on April 28, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
44
@ 36 When Congress passed the ADA they specifically excluded transgender people from protection, so there would be no doubt. Unless a state passes a law specifically protecting them from discrimination (or you happen to live in a judicial circuit that allows transgender people to bring sex discrimination claims), most transgender people are screwed under federal law.
Posted by pdx2dc on April 28, 2011 at 1:49 PM · Report this
John Horstman 45
Shame! Shame! Shame!

Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is sex-based discrimination and therefore covered by federal law (whether specific judges want to recognize this fact is another matter entirely), as a person with the same gender-presentation or sexuality (i.e. who is attracted to/fucks person X) who is of a different sex is treated differently. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact, easily demonstrable (like 2+2=4). Of course, a lot of these assholes don't think sex-based discrimination is a bad idea either, but it's no longer politically viable to state such a position explicitly. Keep suing; eventually this might sink in.

@17, 26, 30: I'm not even sure why we sex-segregate bathrooms at all - toilets all have stalls, and urinals COULD have stalls, if we're really that worried about people seeing our genitals every now and then, in passing; if anything, I'd think they'd be MORE comfortable with transpersons who were peeping/assaulting/etc., because at least that wouldn't be gay (if the person isn't REALLY a man or woman in their view, which must be the case, else they would be just like any other man or woman and it wouldn't be an issue). All of it has to do entirely with using any means possible to fuck-up people who don't fit in their view of how people should exist/behave as much as possible. Bathrooms, as one of the only (or the only?) sex-segregated (and sex-binary) ubiquitous types of public facilities are a functional place for this.
Posted by John Horstman on April 28, 2011 at 1:59 PM · Report this
46
@45: I think money and effort is better spent passing legislation like ENDA than filing futile suits and appeals. While there's a good argument that sex discrimination covers transgender people, but I don't think it's clear as 2+2 that discrimination based on sex/gender is the same as discrimination based on homosexuality. Sexism ≠ homophobia (even if both are rooted in misogyny). We need to collectively press our govt to step up and explicitly protect the LGBT community, rather than assume that we are already protected, and have every fucked over person spend several years and thousands of dollars litigating their lawsuits in vain.
Posted by pdx2dc on April 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM · Report this
47
There is a petition online in support of Dr.Tudor here; http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/help-ra…
Posted by Eagleviper on April 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM · Report this
48
@41: Yes, of course we trans folk are to blame. After all, if we weren't trying to deceive the nice normal people as part of our horrible sexual deviancy, we wouldn't have this problem, would we?

*facepalm*
Posted by digitalwitch on April 28, 2011 at 5:12 PM · Report this
49
@47 Not only do a lot of people not read the comments of unregistered posters, but the end of the link was cut off.

For those of you who are interested there is a petition in support of Dr. Tudor here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/help-ra…
Posted by redwulf25_ci on April 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM · Report this
50
It's horrifying that people can believe in an awesome and all-knowing God and believe that they understand God's will enough to say what it is and, because god apparently isnt powerful enough to act on his/her own, needs them to make hate-filled policy decisions in God's name. Well, which is it? Awesome God or small-minded mute who needs you to speak for him or her?
Posted by beccoid on April 28, 2011 at 6:39 PM · Report this
51
I'm not surprised at all. It's sad, but it's the way this country works right now, and quite possibly for much longer, if these simple minded individuals are allowed their way.

We are discriminated against for something entirely beyond our control, yet these people would genuinely see us dead before sharing a room with them. In fact, we are often supported by the majority, while the loud minority dictates the discussion and policies resulting from that.

We have been stigmatized, insulted, taunted, bullied, pushed around, run out of public facilities (that we have legally protected rights to), spit on, shoved, beaten mercilessly, raped, and murdered. If we dare to defend ourselves and our rights, we face prosecution as the aggressor, citing our "male anatomy," because "Nobody our size could be be a victim," or whatever other half-ass excuse is offered that day.

Insert your version of Dylan's "Hurricane" here.
Posted by ncc74656m on April 29, 2011 at 10:19 AM · Report this
52
I'm not surprised at all. It's sad, but it's the way this country works right now, and quite possibly for much longer, if these simple minded individuals are allowed their way.

We are discriminated against for something entirely beyond our control, yet these people would genuinely see us dead before sharing a room with them. In fact, we are often supported by the majority, while the loud minority dictates the discussion and policies resulting from that.

We have been stigmatized, insulted, taunted, bullied, pushed around, run out of public facilities (that we have legally protected rights to), spit on, shoved, beaten mercilessly, raped, and murdered. If we dare to defend ourselves and our rights, we face prosecution as the aggressor, citing our "male anatomy," because "Nobody our size could be be a victim," or whatever other half-ass excuse is offered that day.

Insert your version of Dylan's "Hurricane" here.
Posted by ncc74656m on April 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM · Report this
53
Fundies hate trans people 'cos fundies are homophobic in a very literal sense, afraid of the gay. They're terrified they can just, you know, boom, wake up gay. They're afraid a transwoman can use her surgically constructed vagina as some kind of damn tiger trap and make them accidentally gay.

It's not a matter of genuine sexual violence they're afraid of. It's a bullshit straw man, to feature women as the victims, 'cos it's not manly to suggest that they themselves are the people they fear being victimized. Of course, some transwomen are more sexually interested in women than men, but in the homophobic "mind," transwomen are just persuing dick in a more aggressively homosexual fashion than most.

I mean, seriously, it's not like anyone seriously hears that some serial rapist who got a sex change just to get easier access to victims. I mean, it's not the kind of shit people do on a lark, it's something that's serious, that you do only because you know it's who you are inside.
Posted by JudT on May 1, 2011 at 8:37 PM · Report this

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