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College professor under investigation for “Female or Shemale” quiz

screengrab via Twitter

A sociology professor at New York College at Geneseo has been accused of being transphobic because he had his students participate in a “Female or Shemale” quiz during class.

David Sorbello asked his students to differentiate among pictures of women, some of whom are transgender.

The projection encompasses four individuals who, for the most part, ostensibly appear to be women under, the title “FEMALE or SHEMALE: can you tell?”

The classroom interaction went viral after Jasmine Cui, a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo, took the liberty to photograph and tweet the projection slide of Sorbello’s peculiar quiz.

“As a woman of color, I construed it as a teacher using identity as a punchline, a cheap laugh. And I thought of course this is objectifying, we’re using someone as an object for humor,” Cui expressed to WXXI News.

Sorbello then required his students to differentiate which of the individuals shown on his projector were biologically female or a “shemale.”

Leliana McDermott, a transgender woman and sophomore at SUNY Geneseo, stated that both the activity and the term “shemale” were offensive.

“It’s an extremely derogatory term because it has been used in so many situations from cis-gender people trying to be offensive to transgender people that it’s a really bad slur,” McDermott explained.

According to Cui, the adjunct lecturer Sorbello reasoned that the quiz was to help students avoid hypothetically becoming too intoxicated and subsequently going home with the “wrong one.” Cui added this project will only exacerbate what she regarded as “trans panic.”

“Meeting someone who is a trans woman or a transgender individual and later, when they find out that the person didn’t have the biological components they were expecting, they panic and in some cases seriously injure or lethally injure the other individual,” Cui stated.

Cui also commented under her initial Twitter post that once Sorbello was confronted by students who were offended by his quiz, he sent out an email banning electronic devices from the classroom.


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