Columbia is in The Paper (and Magazine?) of Record

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Several readers have tipped Bwog off that the cover story for this week’s New York Times Magazine discusses transgender students, and centers specifically around Rey, a transgender student who enrolled at Barnard last year. The article takes a look at the treatment of transgender students at different universities–for instance, Wesleyan uses gender-neutral pronouns like “ze” and “hir”–as well as what it means to be transgender at a women’s college. 

Rey discusses his first week at Barnard, during which his room mate felt uncomfortable that she was “being asked to live with a man,” after enrolling at a women’s college. Rey and his parents met with Dean of the College Dorothy Denburg about the situation, and it was eventually decided that enrolling in the School of General Studies might be a better fit. Rey now describes himself as very happy after an awful first semester. The long-ish but incredibly interesting article can be read online in its entirety.

Also in the New York Times of Columbia-related interest is an article about everyone’s favorite little-controversy-that-could Juicy Campus. The piece focuses on the aftermath of scandalous Juicy Campus posts regarding one student at Yale (who participated in an amateur pornographic film) and one at Baylor University (who was called a slut).

The recent attempts to “outlaw” the site at Pepperdine University were also mentioned, but ultimately the student leading the crusade against Juicy Campus expressed regret about drawing attention to it in the first place.

“Looking back, it was a mistake,” said Austin Maness, a senior who wrote the resolution but now feels that it only increased students’ awareness of Juicy Campus. “Curiosity killed the cat,” he said, “and everyone started going to the site.”


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  1. hmm  

    I had him? in one of my discussion sections last semester, and he was really smart and nice. Although I didn't know that he was a transgender, I thought he was just a lesbian. It's actually awkward to say he, just because I still feel like he's a woman... oh well. This stuff is just all too complicated sometimes.

    • It is hard  

      I transferred to Columbia, but at my former school, a tiny liberal arts college, I had a trans friend (FTM). It was, yes, incredibly difficult to adjust pronouns. Usually they're something said without thinking, and it is awkward to stumble over yourself to take it back and reword it. I'm not sure how much the effort counts.

  2. correction  

    "...centers specifically around Rey, a transgender student who enrolled at Barnard a couple years ago."

    actually, bwog, rey just started last fall.

  3. well

    I went to high school with this person. Very nice. A little strange personality-wise, but overall a really nice and interesting person. Used to be named Rachel or some iteration thereof. And I had no idea of the operation until this article. Congrats on being able to speak so openly about this, because I don't think I'd ever have the courage to come out like this in a huge newspaper, with a picture to boot.

  4. ...  

    ohhh.... you're transgender? and you want to stay? we've got a school for you where you'd feel right at home... it might be a little more expensive... *university begin licking lips*

  5. more coverage  

    Also, this week's "modern love" is written by a Columbia grad.

  6. CTV Reporter  

    There's a CTV news story about him online at, and if you search for "transgender" you should be able to find it. It centers around an interview with him... I'd advise people who are interested to check it out.

  7. is this the person

    that likes to run over me with his skateboard? lol

  8. CTV Reporter  

    This "Alissa Quart" stole my story..........

  9. reader  

    Is having a FTM sex change operation AND going to Barnard like having his cake and eating hers too...?

  10. I dont care  

    who you are. riding a skateboard around campus is CORNY

  11. Margaret Carlson

    Why was Rey encouraged to pull a quick transfer to General Studies, a division at a university he wasn't even enrolled in. Wasn't he also of "traditional" college age? Was it Barnard's way of saying, "sure, we're not tolerant and we don't want to piss off donors and the prissy sheltered girls that infest the quad, so if you want to take Columbia classes with a Columbia curriculum, go to the place with more mature people, perhaps like yourself, while finding your own off-campus place to live."

    • in fact

      There is a present barnard employee who graduated a couple years back from barnard who became a man before the student's senior term. The difference there was that student made his decision after having already become attached and committed to barnard, and when residence hall issues could be far more easily resolved, ie with a single. So, Barnard's staff and administration, as well as studentbody, clearly accepted him as one of their own. The difference here is that Rey decided to be a man before entering Barnard. Given Columbia housing policies in general, men and women cannot share a double. And all barnard freshman must live in the quad, in doubles or triples, so there is clearly an issue. It seems like CC (or GS which is for "non traditional students-->which rey sure seems to be) are a better fit given the access to all of barnard's resources in terms of community and health, while still having more gender neutral facilities and single-housing options. What I don't understand is that if Rey's girlfriend is at Smith, why didn't he go there, given its an easier school to get into than barnard, and clearly (from the article) has more procedures in place for trans students....

  12. umm..  

    the fact that he is now a man is a choice he made so that he would no longer be considered a woman. Barnard is an all-women's college and, so, it doesn't really make sense why he enrolled. it is clearly a very sticky and confusing situation to deal with. in the end, however, now that rey is a man, he really has no place in a women's college. the fact that the barnard woman was uncomfortable with living with a man was totally MATURE and respectable on her part because it means she was acknowledging his life choice. when a girl chooses to go to barnard it's partly because she expects to live with only women... if you're gonna be immature and call all women's school students "prissy sheltered girls" when it's not about that at all... you're ignorant for a) not seeing the full picture and b) for generalizing that much.

    it's so sad to see so many columbia girls hate on barnard girls for no good reason. get over the fact that we share shit with your school, no one in the real world cares. so take a deep breath and focus on what your parents are paying 45K+ for.

    • umm  

      You seem to be ignoring the well-integrated trans communities at other 'all-women's colleges', like Wellesley or Smith.

    • Sure  

      I'm sure the Barnard roommate made that decision with all the maturity and dignity you suggest. I'm sure she wasn't thinking, "omg ew", oh no; her actions were merely a reflection of the respect she had for his decision.

      • even if

        she was totally grossed out by the idea of have a tranny be her roommate there is nothing wrong with that. I would image most women might a serious problem to sharing a room with a 'guy'. And yes I would be completely freaked out if I were in the same situation.

  13. what

    is the name of that Yale kid?

  14. eyeroll  

    I imagine her actions WERE a reflection of the respect she had for his decision to be a man - what college forces a first year girl to live with a first year boy? most college freshman entering any school, co-ed or not, expect to be rooming with someone of the same gender, at least for the first year. going to a single-sex college indicates that a student would only want to be living with someone of the same sex. it's the college that wasn't respecting Rey's decision, by making him live with a bunch of girls and thinking that, since he was born a girl, he'd fit in fine with a bunch of girls.

  15. it's frustrating  

    that barnard has a problem with ftm students like rey, but then at the same time won't allow students who have transitioned to female (from male) to matriculate. So they are neither going by "birth gender" or by "expression."

  16. beentheredonethat

    am i the only one who thinks he's the most inarticulate kid ever? find some intelligent tranny to talk to, geez.

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