OPINION: Transphobia runs rampant on Loyola’s campus


Maleigh Crespo

Photo Illustration

Slater Arlt

Loyola has a pervasive transphobia problem – a problem that only seems to be escalating. I’ve had my pronouns and preferred name repeatedly ignored by faculty, despite signing every email with “Slater, (they/he).” Professors who knew me before I came out make fun of my chosen name or fail to use it at all. Peers have found and used my deadname instead of my preferred name. And these are just my personal experiences.

The lack of discretion afforded to transgender and gender-nonconforming students on an administrative level is appalling. Transgender students are not allowed to change their names on their student IDs. Last semester, the Women’s Resource Center made a social media post inferring that the term “TERF,” or trans-exclusionary radical feminist, is a slur. Abigail Favale- a known TERF- was invited to speak on sex and gender at Catholic Studies Night, just days after the Club Q shooting.

This problem is not exclusive to Loyola. Nationwide, transgender students report they have been verbally, physically, and sexually harassed in large numbers- as much as 24% of 27,000 transgender students. Trans rights have been under attack for years, and things only seem to worsen, with new legislation targeting transgender healthcare for people twenty-six and under. So much of the transphobic legislature running through states is based around transgender people’s rights in educational institutions, making the problem of transphobia at Loyola that much more frustrating. To see Loyola fail to live up to its core tenets of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” and “social justice” is more than just disappointing. It is devastating.

What is most upsetting about all of this is that there is little I can do about it. I have written to faculty about Abigail Favale, I have tried to get my ID changed, I have corrected professors and peers on my name, and every time I have been brushed off. If I get angry, I am being unprofessional and hostile, but if I say nothing I am complicit in my own dehumanization. Why should it fall on the transgender students of Loyola to protest every transphobic act that occurs? Where are the so-called allies?

“I offer you this warning: the Nature you bedevil me with is a lie. Do not trust it to protect you from what I represent, for it is a fabrication that cloaks the groundlessness of the privilege you seek to maintain for yourself at my expense,” Susan Stryker wrote as part of her performance piece-turned-essay “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix.” I use these words to remind you that your prejudice stems from a place of privilege, and only serves to shield you from progress. Loyola has aided and abetted transphobia for far too long, and it is high time we see a change.