Pitt lecturer calls laws protecting children from sex changes 'a form of violence'

Jesse Jack told Campus Reform that such legislation will result in a 'loss of a sense of safety or support' for LGBT youth.

The Pitt Provost's Diversity Institute for Faculty Development explores 'Queering the Classroom'

A University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) lecturer accused lawmakers who are banning gender transitions for children of engaging in “a form of violence” when discussing the school’s ongoing diversity training program titled, “Queering the Classroom.”

“Anti-LGBTQIA+ lawmaking, which I consider to be a form of violence, has and will change the faculty and student experience,” said Jesse Jack, a Pitt transgender faculty member who recently sat on one of the diversity training panels.

In an email exchange with Campus Reform, Jack wrote: “These [LGBT] youth are experiencing true loss: loss of a desired or imagined adolescence as one lived authentically, loss of the desired or imagined body forced to change in undesirable ways due to the restricted access to care, loss of a sense of safety or support, etc.”

The Pitt Provost’s Diversity Institute for Faculty Development hosts training every year with various themes “to increase awareness about equity and inclusion and develop skills needed to teach in a diverse, multicultural environment,” according to its website

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Last year’s theme, “Anti-Racist Curriculum and Praxis,” included sessions on “Decentering Whiteness: Intersectional Curriculum Creation” and “Classrooms as Catalyst for Racial Justice Centered Activism,” among others.

The 2023 focus, “Queering the Classroom,” will explore “intersectional queer experiences,” “queer pain, exclusion, and joy in the classroom,” and “practices of queer pedagogy.”

“I am pleased by the subject this year as it recognizes that anti-LGBTQIA+ lawmaking will continue to have tangible impacts that cannot be separated from academic life and production,” Jack stated.

Jack served as a panelist for the institute’s first event held this year on May 16, titled, “The Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislative Landscape and the University Classroom.” The discussion featured three additional professors who addressed the “rapidly changing landscape of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation nationwide” and the “consequences for higher education university classrooms,” according to the event page.

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“This panel discussion addresses how these bills, often directed at K-12 students and educators, resonate through, and have consequences for higher education university classrooms,” the panel description added.

The institute’s event series is hosted virtually and encouraged for both full-time and part-time faculty members. Other discussions included, “LGBTQ+ Health and the Medical Curriculum,” “Queering STEM Culture and Classroom” and “Queer Joy and Belonging in the University Classroom.” 

The University of Pittsburgh did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.