Many students in one of central Israel's leading universities received an e-mail recently from their favorite lecturer, who informed them that "as of next year I will no longer be Dr. Yoav, but Dr. Ronit (not the real names)."
Dr. Yoav, 45, is a senior, esteemed lecturer and married father. During the summer holiday he began a sex change procedure and will be facing his students as a woman in two months time.
He is already addressing himself as a woman. "I am currently calling the students I work with closely to inform them on the matter," she says. "Everyone in my close circle – family, kids and colleagues - already know about it."
Ronit has been working at the university for 10 years. Her employers, she says, have been informed about her plans. "I informed the university several months ago and to my delight they were very supportive," she says.
Her students, too, have encouraged her. "They love taking my classes," she says. "I'm receiving supportive e-mails from students. I don't think it will bother anyone. The student-lecturer dynamic is to the point and my teaching quality will not change, of course."
One of Dr. Ronit's students says the step came as no surprise. "Despite the masculine appearance, once he opened his mouth there was no mistaking him," he says.
"We've spoken about it amongst ourselves and everyone is very supportive. I have not heard one person say it bothers or makes any difference to them, quite the contrary. As a lecturer he is very interesting and everyone loved taking his classes. I am certain that will not change now."
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