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City Club of Eugene: Navigating and Studying Gender Transition

Recorded on: March 15, 2019

Air Date: March 18, 2019

From the City Club of Eugene:

In the fall of 2015, after a varied career path and a home life as a husband and father, Bethany Grace Howe made a momentous decision:  she began to transition to female. Since starting the doctoral program at the University of Oregon three years ago, Bethany has studied transgender individuals and communities all over the country, most recently in New York City (where she also bragged of eating pizza in all five boroughs). Along the way, Bethany has done what she can to educate audiences about transgender issues, both in lecture format and as a stand-up comedian.  In this program, Bethany will tell of her journey, from her initial doubts and her questions about the need for surgeries to the move from conservative towns of Texas to liberal Eugene. The title of the program, though possibly controversial to some, was suggested and approved by Bethany Grace.

Following graduation from the University of Colorado in 1992, Bethany pursued a variety of occupations: teacher, hotel manager, performer and media manager for Disney on Ice, and collegiate and major league baseball mascot. She worked as a reporter and then humor columnist in Lincoln County, Oregon. She won several awards for narrative and feature writing. She later switched her journalism pursuits from writing to teaching, when she became a middle and high school teacher of journalism, drama, English, and social studies. She maintained this role until enrolling as a doctoral student in the UO School of Journalism and Communication, which will award her a PhD this spring.

Bethany writes transgender-related commentary for local papers and national publications. Her thoughts on navigating the cisgender world as a transgender woman have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, the Toronto Star and The Oregonian. Presenting at schools as well as at professional and academic conferences, Bethany aims to help people understand a very misunderstood part of the population. And if not, she also does stand-up comedy on a semi-regular basis around Eugene, where hopefully they’re at least learning to laugh with her.

Program Coordinator: Joel Korin

copyright, KLCC 2019

Born and raised in Eugene, Anni started at KLCC in 2000 as a reporter and co-host of Northwest Passage. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Anni moved to New York City. She worked in education for several years before returning to her true love, journalism. Anni co-founded and co-hosted Dailysonic, a narrative-based news podcast. She interned at WNYC's On The Media, then becoming WNYC's assistant producer of Morning Edition.