U. of Wisconsin: One-stop shopping for ‘transitioning’ (to another sex) students *UPDATE*

U. of Wisconsin: One-stop shopping for ‘transitioning’ (to another sex) students *UPDATE*

Transitioning: At one time that term might have reserved for incoming freshmen making the adjustment from living under their parents roof to dorm life and self-sufficiency. Nowadays, even the word freshman is a microgression.

So when the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee devotes an entire page of its website to “transitioning” students, clearly the school has a different animal in mind. Precisely which animal is clarified by the fact that the page was created by the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.

Among the services offered is Name Changes. Clicking on the link opens up several paragraphs of text that explain the process by which students named, say, Bruce legally become Caitlin. It has never been all that obvious to me why transitioning from one sex to another requires a concomitant change of name. It seems about arbitrary as the requirement in high school language classes that students answer to the cognate of their name in the language they are learning, so that William, for example, becomes Guillaume in his French class. Anyway, since “obtaining a legal name change is not financially feasible for everyone,” as the web page notes, doing away with name changing would promote economic fairness.

One of the services that I find especially intriguing is Voice Therapy. Under this heading is text that explains that “the UWM Speech and Language Clinic provides low cost voice feminization therapy for male-to-female transgender clients.” Presumably, “clients” are trained to speak in falsetto. But isn’t UWM guilty of sexism in providing a service that is available only to transitioners in one direction? What about women who want to deepen their voices on the road to self-identifying as males? Surely, the Speech and Language Clinic has in bag of tricks some technique for allowing gals to produce the illusion of sounding more like guys. If nothing else, the university could subsidize low-cost reconstructive surgery to enlarge the “mask,” or vocal cavity, of transitioning females so that the natural pitch of their speaking voice is lowered.

If all this doesn’t already sounds ridiculous enough, you should be aware that the University of Wisconsin is sensitive in a whole host of other ways to the plight of the Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts, and Qs out there. Various campuses within the system now offer “queer migration” courses, taught by a real-live queer migrant. UW has also demonstrated its heightened awareness of other forms of oppression, by, for example, implementing a grade redistribution policy based on race.

By the way, it’s worth noting that UW is a state school system, which means taxpayers fought the bill for these acts of social engineering.

*UPDATE* I received an email from Michelle Johnson, Media Services manager at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who offered these clarifications to my article:

Clients pay for voice therapy services at UW-Milwaukee; the services are not funded by taxpayer dollars. Voice therapy services are provided by graduate students supervised by certified, licensed speech-language pathologists as part of their professional training. The client fees go to the clinic, not to individual graduate students. Voice feminization therapy is just one type of voice therapy offered by the clinic and is provided in compliance with nondiscrimination policies established by the university and the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Most people served by the clinic do not receive voice feminization therapy.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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