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Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Students at Pennsylvania College Elect Transgendered President

[HARRISBURG, PA] - Alberta Hamm ran on a diversity platform in her recent campaign for student government president at a central Pennsylvania community college. Hamm, who was a biological man for nearly 50 years, became Harrisburg Area Community College's first transgendered Student Government Association president last week.

"I want to educate, embrace, empower everyone, every day, everywhere. And I think that should be a model for our student government," said Hamm, a 61-year-old who used to go by the name Albert. Hamm, who said she feels accepted at the college, married and had a daughter before making the decision to become a woman. She then resigned from her position as church elder and moved to another part of the state, she said. Last July she underwent surgery to become a woman. Hamm works at a department store in a Harrisburg-area mall. "I knew I was born a woman, so I just took the necessary changes to become a woman," she

Trum Simmons, senior professor of English at the college, said some students don't know what to make of Hamm. "It's a mind blower," Simmons said. "It certainly was for me at first. But once somebody gets to know Alberta, so many stereotypes or misconceptions fade away."

Hamm, who said she has received mixed reactions from family members, said she often speaks to classes or health care workers about her choice. "I want to inform and educate in reference to transgender issues," she said. "I spent most of my life knowing I was a woman. If I can prevent one individual from going through the hell I've been through, it's worth it."

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