Photo Credit: Harley Christensen
Stephanie Dyke’s Workshop Highlighting the Experience of Gender Variant Professionals: Seattle Colleges and Beyond
On Wednesday, February 27th, the Seattle Central Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hosted a transgender resource workshop for students and employees of Seattle Colleges. In room BE 3212, Stephanie Dykes, Ph.D, created a dialogue focusing on transgender topics in the workplace and academia, with the aid of her own PowerPoint course module. This course was presented to aid cisgendered and trans professionals alike in navigating inclusive action and language with trans folks in academia. Stephanie Dykes is the Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness at North Seattle College and has her Ph.D in Educational Research and Management.
Hailing from North Carolina as a tenured educator of beyond 20 years, Dykes is well versed in the adversity that is commonly attached with being a transgender person in the school and workplace. These hardships include but are not limited to employment barriers she has experienced since graduating from University of South Carolina, proposed anti-trans bathroom bills, or in her words- “bogus laws” created as an attempt to keep trans people from using the restroom that matches their gender identity. Dykes would be first to admit to an increase in discrimination, saying that “since 2016 and all that came with the presidential election, it has become increasingly difficult to continue to be trans in this country.” This would come without shock to the faculty and students attending the workshop. Throughout her presentation, the audience of mostly Gen X or Millennial faculty asked several questions surrounding issues Dykes introduced, and could only attempt to validate the hardships expressed by the North Seattle instructor.
The most involved inquiries were during the Q&A section at the end of the workshop. This included a statement from the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Laura Donders, who said she has noticed many instructors and students alike at Seattle Central misgendering their peers. Donders would go on to say that “modelling gender affirming behaviors should rely on the cisgender faculty and student body,” to further validate Dyke’s experience with the difficulty of existing as a trans person in a professional setting and the need to constantly remind your peers of your gender identity.
Dr. Stephanie Dykes’ presentation also included sections around vocabulary within transgender and non-binary communities. Dykes made it a point to bring visibility surrounding the privilege she experiences living as a white trans woman, noting that if she were not a white woman, “[her] experience would be increasingly nuanced, and completely different” from the experience of her peers that are people of color. Dykes’ presentation highlighted the biological study that has been conducted within a gender binary, the differences between what is institutionally accepted as factual data, and new developments in science that are pointing toward neurological similarities or differences between cis and transgender people. These points were coupled with Dyke’s dry and witty sense of humor, which would keep the audience of some 30 staff and students engaged throughout the entirety of the course. Dykes would even include a vocal performance at the end of her piece, performing a short excerpt from Les Miserables, as Dykes is a longtime member of the Seattle Choruses.
Dr. Stephanie Dykes included a list of transgender resources for trans folks and allies alike that are listed below. Dykes will continue to have workshops hosted by Seattle Colleges throughout 2019; be sure to keep an eye out for her radical and inclusive workshop entitled Transgender in the Academy: Challenges and Opportunities for the Gender Variant Employee and Student: Stephanie Dykes Ph.D.
-Ingersoll Gender Center
-Gender Justice League
-Washington Gender Alliance
-Gender Alliance of the South Sound
-Trans Life Line
877– 565- 8860
-National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
202– 642- 4542