Donor Spotlight: Ahuva Cohen

On March 14, 1988, I posted a notice in the elevator of 535 East 80th Street that I would be appearing the following evening on “Punto y Aparte,” an interview program hosted by WXTV newscaster Rafael Pineda. When the topic of the broadcast—my imminent sexreassignment surgery—became known, a flurry of phone calls were made to my dean demanding to know if I planned on saying anything about CUNY on the air, as if the revelation of a transsexual data analyst in the central administration could mushroom into a public relations scandal. While I have never felt discriminated against for being open about my gender history, I have occasionally felt disappointed that such a significant rite-of-passage remained unacknowledged by the institution to which I have devoted my professional life. That was, until an essay I had written about my experience was awarded a prize by CLAGS in 2008 for the best undergraduate paper on an LGBT topic. As a beneficiary of its programming, I support CLAGS because I know from first-hand experience that the legitimacy LGBT studies have achieved in public higher education during the past twenty years should never be taken for granted.