Letter to the Editor: Student Life’s “neutrality” is harming students

| Class of 2026

Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of transphobia. Resources for anyone impacted by this topic are listed at the bottom of this page.

The original version of Student Life’s recent article by Editor-in-Chief Julia Robbins, “MO Attorney General investigating Transgender Center at WUSM,” did nothing but restate and lift up the violent anti-trans rhetoric of the recent “whistleblower” report on the Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital Transgender Center. This article reported on an opinion piece by Jamie Reed, a self-proclaimed queer leftist who is married to a “transman.” These qualifiers attempt to excuse Jamie Reed from her transphobia, but they cannot change the facts. Contrary to her efforts to prove that she is not transphobic, Jamie Reed’s article regurgitates transphobic talking points and goes so far as to act as an authority on the care of transgender teenagers despite a lack of medical training, as pointed out in a rebuttal by trans activist Erin Reed.

Robbins devoted the majority of the word count of her original article (this article was updated on Feb. 16) to quotes and other content dedicated to the dangerous transphobic talking points of Jamie Reed and Senator Josh Hawley and the investigation in general. Restating these points without refutation or commentary will only harm trans students at this university and trans people across the country. The meager remainder of the article was ineffectually given to the statements of PROMO, an LGBT activist organization of almost 40 years, and Erin Reed’s aforementioned point-by-point rebuttal of the “whistleblower” report.

This article doesn’t set a dangerous precedent for StudLife reporting; it continues it. Just a few short months ago on Dec. 7, StudLife published an article about the “anti-SU, pro-trans speech” that was written on and around the underpass. In the course of this article, StudLife platformed the opinion that the graffiti protest should have been carried out within university guidelines and, by reporting on the rescheduling of Amala Ekpunobi’s talk — the event which sparked the need for the protest in the first place — StudLife promoted it to students who wouldn’t have been aware of it otherwise. Several people who collaborated on this piece have also reported feeling uncomfortable during experiences with StudLife while being contacted for quotes or interviews. 

Transphobia has been an issue in StudLife’s publishing for some time, and it’s time to address it. This most recent article and StudLife’s past transgressions have had an enormous impact on the trans community at WashU. The mental health and safety of trans students are at risk, something only made worse by StudLife’s transphobic journalism. Choosing to essentially republish anti-trans violence with no commentary from the trans students on this campus or about the effects it will have on them is choosing a side. Trans students are hurting, and StudLife could have published an article standing in solidarity with us but decided to reinforce our oppression. In an effort to help remedy these issues, we propose that when the new staff of Student Life takes over later this semester, they schedule a meeting with the queer and trans community of WashU to ensure that our voices are heard. 

 In addition to these on-campus effects, bills are being proposed that could limit access to life-saving trans healthcare and potentially infringe on trans people’s right to exist. One bill of this nature has already been proposed in this state (Missouri House Bill 494), and similar bills have passed either the House or Senate in other states. And that is just the legal aspect. Trans people, especially trans people of color, have been and are actively being killed all around the world. Just a few days ago, 16-year-old trans girl Brianna Ghey was stabbed to death in England. Articles like the “whistleblower” report and Robbins’s coverage of it only make this violence, as well as trans suicides, happen more often. 

You can claim that these articles are presented in an attempt at neutrality, but these articles are not neutral. Robbins’s most recent article is not based in fact but rather on the unsubstantiated claims of a single person. Such misrepresentation can have dire consequences for marginalized communities, in this case, trans people and particularly people who have historically been barred from receiving trans healthcare, including minors and people of color.

This submission was written by Aspen Schisler in collaboration with a group of several other trans students who wish to remain anonymous for their safety.


Below are resources to support members of the trans community. 


The Trans Lifeline works to connect trans people with emotional and financial support, along with other community resources. Trans counselors can be reached 24/7 at 1-877-565-8860.

The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for the LGBTQIA+ community, can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-866-488-7386 or texting START to 678-678.


The St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline offers resources and support from local, LGBTQIA-affirming peer counselors, and can be reached Friday – Monday from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. CT at 314-380-7774.

The Metro Trans Umbrella Group facilitates St. Louis-based support groups for trans-masculine, trans-feminine, non-binary and genderqueer individuals, as well as LGBTQIA+ people of color. Contact information for each group can be found online

Pinwheels is a support group with meetings in St. Louis for trans and gender nonconforming children, teens, and their families. 

Growing American Youth is a social support organization for LGBTQ+ youth who live near St. Louis and are 21 and under, and can be contacted via Instagram or Facebook.


The National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network provides a variety of identity-affirming resources, including a directory of queer and trans therapists of color. 

Trans researcher and writer Erin Reed has created an online map of every informed consent hormone clinic in the United States. 

The Gender Affirming Letter Access Project aims to increase access to free letters for gender-affirming medical care by providing a directory of trans, nonbinary, and allied mental health and medical clinicians. The DIY HRT Directory is an online resource that provides information about how to safely obtain and perform hormone replacement therapy.

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