Philanthropist donates $2m to fund first ever trans studies chair

Joseph McCormick January 20, 2016
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A billionaire philanthropist has donated $2 million to a university to establish a chair of transgender studies.

The position will be funded by American Jennifer Pritzker, who donated the money to the University of Victoria through her Tawani Foundation.

No other position like it is believed to exist in global academia.

Half of the money will be given to fund the chair position for the next five years, and the other half is to match other donations to the course.

The inaugural chair will be Aaron Devor, a sociology professor who has studied trans issues for over thirty years.

“Far too many trans and gender-nonconforming people still live in poverty and fear,” Dr Devor said in a statement.

“As the inaugural chair, I will act as a resource locally and internationally for those needing information for their own research or for policy development, as well as building linkages between community-based and academic scholars working in transgender studies.”

Dr Devor founded the same university’s transgender archives, which were created in 2012.

The archive aims to keep a historical record of trans history particularly of trans activists.

The Tawani Foundation is a supporter of military history, and Ms Pritzker is out as trans and formerly an army lieutenant colonel.

“The chair in transgender studies sets [University of Victoria] apart,” The University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels said in a statement.

“I am proud of our campus community’s commitment to diversity, as well as grateful to Dr Devor, Lieutenant Colonel Pritzker, the Tawani Foundation and all those who help us continually learn and grow in a welcoming environment that promotes the rights and affirms the dignity of all persons.”

More: US

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