Robyn's picture


I was born in Portland, OR in 1948 and raised grew up in poorer part of Lake Oswego. My first attempt at college at the University of Pennsylvania was less than successful due to personal issues that lead to a bit of a breakdown. Not wanting to be trained as a killer, I moved and left no forwarding address…for several years.

Part of that time I lived in Haight-Ashbury as a hippie and worked some with the Diggers to help other people in the community. The FBI tracked me down in 1971 and I was given the option of 2 years in the military or 5 years in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. I chose the US Army, figuring I could always run again if need be.

In its infinite irony, the Army sent me to military police school in Fort Gordon, Georgia. I volunteered for Correctional Specialist School to keep from being sent overseas (Vietnam pr Okinawa). Upon graduation I was stationed at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, KS. I spent much of my time working in the Prisoner Pay section of the Finance Department, obtaining a Presidential Commendation from Richard Nixon. Boy am I proud of that!

I mustered out at the rank of Spec 5 (basically equal to Sergeant, but without leadership duties). I worked in food service for awhile before giving school another try. I attended Portland Community College and Portland State University, doing my undergraduate degree in two and a half years. Then I went to the University of Oregon to obtain a PhD in mathematics in 1981.

Still feeling a need to provide community service, I’ve been a teacher ever since. I have taught mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Central Arkansas (where I was tenured), Montclair State University for a year (after I gave up that tenure), computer programming at Bloomfield (NJ)College (where I again gained tenure), and now back to mathematics at Bloomfield. By my reckoning I have been teaching for 36 years.

In 1992 I came out as transgender and began transition. I had my sex reassignment surgery in 1994. I promised myself when I finished that transition that I would never forget how I was treated and would make every effort to ensure that nobody else would be treated like that. To that end I have been spending the majority of my spare time educating people on what it means to be transgender in order that someday we might be accorded full human rights.

I'm still working on that.


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