Riley, who asked for her identity to not be revealed for fear of harassment, is part of the transgender community. She believes that the administration of Robert Morris University does not behave in an inclusive way. She also says many of its professors do not use inclusive language or instructional material and that it creates a more hostile environment for her and other diverse students. (Photo by Njaimeh Njie/PublicSource)

Riley appears to be like every other student on the campus of Robert Morris University. She actually isn’t. Riley deals with obstacles that most students at RMU will never encounter. Riley is transitioning into a woman.

She has asked PublicSource to not reveal her identity because she is afraid of being harassed, threatened or outed to her fellow classmates. During this academic year, while trying to change her birth name to that of a woman, 22-year-old Riley realized that she would often have to take matters into her own hands to ensure her own safety. To those within the transgender community, a name change is one of the first steps to becoming who you really are. Unfortunately for Riley, that process was not as easy as she hoped.

Riley first tried to have administration, faculty and staff recognize her name change this past November. Although she had been informed that the name change could happen, Riley says the process took months for administration to act on the modification. “There are a lot of structure issues where they are reluctant to make accommodations even though they say they [do] on paper,” she said.


Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours