As I start my senior year at UAA this fall, I reflect on how much I have grown as an individual and as a student. I also ponder on the increase of transgender individuals I have met on the UAA campus. As one of the transgender students here at UAA, this brings me joy and a sense of peace and belonging.
I started at UAA in 2006 with no sense of who I was as an independent person. It was Professor Gwen Lupfer-Johnson in my sophomore year that helped me discover the world of transgender individuals. With much therapy and research, I finally figured out what my feelings and thoughts meant. I started transitioning in April of 2010 and took a break from school. Two years later, when I returned to UAA as Danny, I felt a comfort that I had never felt prior.
In my years at UAA I have come out in all of my classes, typically the first day of the semester. In doing this, I have met many individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. I have had many encounters with my fellow students, regardless of gender identity or sexuality, which involve many questions and curiosities. I enjoy answering questions and telling my story, and I have made many friends which I rejoice in seeing on campus again as the semesters come and go. It makes me grateful that I have had such positive experiences with UAA when it comes to my transgender identity, and I hope that others experience the same warmth and welcome as I have at UAA.