University official refuses to lend student a computer, says he looks “like a girl”

Abdul Asquith holds up his ID

I wish this was surprising. Abdul Asquith, a senior at Florida Atlantic University, was refused use of a library laptop last Wednesday while he was trying to study.

ASQUITH: She looked down at the ID, and said, “You sound, look, and act like a girl and in this ID is a man, therefore I’m not giving you a laptop.” [...] It looks just like me. I identify with my ID. I wasn’t there dressed up. I didn’t have on dress. I wasn’t dressed in character.

Asquith was eventually allowed to use a laptop after asking three different librarians.

Sadly, this kind of administrative discrimination is commonplace, and far too likely to target a gender non-conforming Black gay man like Asquith. Trans and gender non-conforming folks deal with this crap all the time. And it’s far too common for Black people to be targeted because of perceived gender non-conformity – recently a cis Black woman was told she’d have to undergo a vaginal exam because the gender marker on her ID was wrong, and trans and gender non-conforming people of color consistently face high levels of discrimination from folks with any authority.

I recently completed my MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute, where I was mispronouned twice by Financial Aid staff in the Financial Aid office. Once I was wearing messy studio clothes, once I was in a skirt and heels (I hadn’t been mispronouned by anyone in a while, but these aren’t the only times it happened to me in grad school despite what I think is a very clear gender presentation and attending a school that pretended to care about LGBT students). Both times made me super uncomfortable accessing the Financial Aid office for information and help I needed. And I wasn’t explicitly refused access to a service, just disrespected while accessing it.

Colleges and universities are often assumed to be great, affirming communities for everyone. But we know this is not the case. Schools need to to a lot better by trans and gender non-conforming students in general. And explicit discrimination like this certainly can’t be allowed to stand.

via ThinkProgress.


Jos Truitt

Jos Truitt does her best writing in bed.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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