Letter from niko kowell, 4th year student

   This is not a response to the lifting of the suspension. While I believe that this is an incredible move forward I consider important to reflect on exactly what Antioch is so important to preserve. This is part of my Antioch love story.

I entered Antioch a nervous, excited, and ambitious queer woman and will leave Antioch as a queer trans boy excited to tackle the challenges of the world. Antioch has made me tough, unafraid, realistic, full of hope, committed to my community, and ashamed to die before I win a victory for humanity.

Antioch has been my constant support. My family here has been unconditional. We engage in tough dialogue and move forward, not back. This community has made me a better person. It has made aware of many different personal powers, qualities and values, both the good and bad.

I needed to know and hear this. I needed to think on this and recognize that I will be growing and changing for the rest of my life. The process of recognizing privilege requires a consistent examination. We will all make mistakes, but one must strive to be consciously and critically aware and an active participant in the community at all times. This is just part of the knowledge I will take from Antioch.

This space is especially important to me because I chose to hormonally alter my body to look more male, or “transition,” about 2 years ago. It’s with the Antiochain values that I embarked on this journey of many questions and possibilities. Numerous possibilities scared me about my potential transition. I was afraid I’d lose myself in the process or become the epitome of what I despised as a lesbian feminist: a straight guy, and in particular a “dude.” I felt I would be seen as entirely male and that any physical quality of my trans identity would no longer be apparent. I was afraid my queerness, feminism, and life history would be erased.

How could one remain consistent and aware through such a dramatic shift? It was the question I most often asked myself as I started this process. The Antiochian values of critical analysis and constant dialogue are what supported me in this effort. I examined events as they changed based on my perceived gender. This time I was seeing the terrifying truths of sexism and racism as a “white man.” It is simply bewildering to gain male privilege and straight passing privilege when you’ve live as a woman for 22 years, and a queer woman for 10.

I feel so lucky to be at this amazing institution,

niko kowell, 4th year student