Recently I was reading the article “Why Colleges Need to Hire More Trans Faculty” which states the reason for this as trans* students needing role models.
While I agree that trans* students should have role models they trust, I feel every student should have role models and those role models should not be based upon gender identity.
When you like/are attracted to someone, whether it be platonically, romantically, or sexually, you don’t choose to feel that. Sure, you choose whether you act upon it or not, but you don’t choose to feel it and you don’t choose the person you feel it for. I believe the same goes for role models. You don’t choose who is in your life, who you connect the best with, who you trust, who you look up to.
I am a trans* student. I have a number of teachers/professors I look up to. All of them, to my knowledge, are cisgender. Them being cisgender doesn’t impede on their ability to be good role models for me. I trust them. I learn from them. I enjoy talking to them. I look up to them. I respect them. They just feel one way about their identities and I feel differently. What’s so bad about that? I could have a trans* professor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will become someone I look up to. We might not click, and that’s okay.
I don’t mean this to say having trans* faculty around wouldn’t be a good thing. It could be extremely beneficial for students to see there are professors of all different identities sharing the same space as them. I just don’t think that gender (normally) plays as big a part in finding your role model(s) as it is made to seem.