Local News
12:45 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

The Louisville Forum Is Adding a Transgender Panelist to the 'Growing Up Transgender' Discussion

Henry Brousseau
Credit Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

The Louisville Forum has added a transgender student to its panel discussion on transgender issues.

LGBTQ and transgender activists recently criticized the the nonpartisan discussion group's July 9 "Growing Up Transgender" panel because it did not include a transgender person.

Karen Berg, the parent of a transgender child, was originally scheduled to speak at the event; now her son will speak instead, according to the Forum's website.

Henry Brousseau is a junior at Louisville Collegiate School. Brousseau was featured in WFPL's series about transgender students in Louisville.

WFPL's Devin Katayama wrote:

For transgender students, pronouns— him and her—are a big deal. And what kids and teachers know about a particular student before they come out can make it difficult to "pass" as the opposite sex assigned at birth.

This is what Brousseau experienced. For him, it was tough after coming out freshman year because many of the kids and teachers at Collegiate had already known Brousseau since kindergarten.

"A lot of people thought I was doing it for attention," he says.

(You can hear Brousseau's full conversation with Devin Katayama.)

Earlier this week, we reported on  LGTBQ and transgender activists' criticism of the panel's makeup. 

Dawn Wilson, a member of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, said she’s glad the topic is being discussed, but the omission of a trans person is a missed opportunity.

“It’s a very good start. But we really do need somebody who has the experiences of school, growing up transgender, growing up as a person who is questioning gender, that perspective needs to be there," Wilson said.

Dale Josey, co-chair for the programs and issues committee for the Forum, said the panel's makeup was "in no way meant as a slight."

Josey had also said the group did not intend to change the panel.

Josey could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

The Louisville Forum’s “Growing Up Transgender” event will be held at 11:45 a.m.  on July 9. Tickets are $25 for non-members, and can be reserved at 502-329-0111 or louisvilleforum.org.