Tag Archives | trans rights

What IFF?: Transvisibility with Denver Tanner

In spring 2022, student, Marissa Haynes (she/her), launched a new podcast in conjunction with WGS. What IFF? is dedicated to sparking discussion about making change in our campus community and beyond by centering intersectional feminist thought and uplifting members of our community who are actively moving toward justice, and inspiring those of us who want to learn more. What IFF? WGS Podcast

Today we’re revisiting What IFF?’s initial episode where Marissa interviews fellow CofC student, Denver Tanner (they/them). They discuss activism, trans rights and mental health, and so much more. Read a brief excerpt from the episode, and click over to What IFF? to listen to the entire interview!

Excerpt from What IFF?, episode 1 – Transvisibility with Denver Tanner:

MH: How do you feel like the classes that you’ve taken, or the work that you’ve done has prepared you for the life that you dream of?

DT: I think it definitely has . The College has provided me so many great opportunities. I’m actually this year, joining the gardening club, so we’re circling back to the learning how to grow your own food with that one. But academically, one of my favorite projects was my anarchy capstone with Dr. McGinnis for my political science end of the year project. I wrote a thesis paper called Be Gay, Do Crime: An Analysis of Queer Anarchy.

MH: Okay, wow, love that. Queer anarchy? Can you expand on that.

Denver TannerDT: Yes, definitely. So, queer anarchy is, in essence, studying how your identity as a gay person or a trans person, is an act of rebellion against the state. So, for example, in my research for this paper, I learned that the City of Charleston, back in the seventeenth century, used to outlaw dressing of an opposite sex, which obviously is transphobic inherently but even racist as it dates back to origins and not allowing people of a different socioeconomic class to dress as if they were wealthier.

MH: Wow! I love that, too, because what you’re talking about is that this innate just being and walking in life is activism, right? Like, walking and existing as a queer person. That in and of itself is activism. I wanted to ask you: What does it mean to be an activist? What does it take to be an activist?

DT: What a great question! Because if you asked me that a couple weeks ago I would have said, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m not an activist.” But now that I sit here and have this dialogue with you and think about my college experiences and what motivates me every day. I realize: to be an activist, you really just have to care about something. You have to have an identity with something and a passion. And I think activism is much simpler than we perceive it to be, and it really can be a part of your everyday life, just like Women’s and Gender Studies.

A Conversation with Abby Stein

Abby Stein

Join Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies and WGS on Thursday, Feb. 17th for A Conversation with Abby Stein at 7PM in Arnold Hall or on Zoom! Register at bit.ly/spring22abbystein.

Abby Stein is a Jewish educator, author, speaker, and activist. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family, attended Yeshiva, and completed a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore a self-determined life. In 2015, Abby came out as a woman of trans experience. Since then, she has been working to raise support and awareness for trans rights and those leaving the ultra-Orthodoxy. Her book Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman, is a coming-of-age memoir that examines identity, gender, and religion through personal experience.

From the publisher, Seal Press:

“The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman


Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews.

But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life.

Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?”

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