On Campus, Rethinking Biology 101

Arriving in Providence last fall to begin his senior year at Brown University, Luke Woodward didn’t have to tell friends what he had done on his summer vacation.

They could tell with one glance. Before the summer Luke had had the body of a woman. Now Luke’s breasts were gone, leaving a chest more compatible with Luke’s close-cropped hair, baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts. Some classmates had chipped in to pay for the surgery; to cover the rest, Luke took out loans.

Thanks to the “chest surgery,” Luke said, “my quality of life is better.” Before, if Luke entered a women’s bathroom on campus, “someone might yell, `Oh my God, there’s a man here’ and call security,” he said. “In men’s bathrooms I’d have to fold my arms over my chest and hope that no one would notice.”