Donny Leveston, an English teacher at Houston Community College, is under fire for allegedly referring to transgender people as “freaks” and “weirdos.” The comments were made during an in-class student discussion of a paper written by the instructor entitled “Taboo: Incest and Homoeroticism.” According to a transgender student in the class, Leveston closed the discussion by saying, “I don’t care what those people do, as long as they keep it away from me.”
The student emailed Leveston and explained that his comments made her feel unwelcome in his class. Leveston responded that “everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion” and that the student should respect his right to feel uncomfortable with transgender people “Everyone has the right to his or her own preference,” wrote Leveston, “just do not go trying to push your views on me. Case closed.”
Leveston didn’t return calls seeking comment for this story.
Daniel Arguijo, chief communications officer for HCC, said the college is aware of the situation, and has reached out to both the student and Leveston to begin the process of addressing the allegations.
Lesa Spivey, director of public relations and media at HCC, said the school values diversity.
“We want all of our students and staff to feel comfortable in class,” she said.
HCC’s non-discrimination policy includes sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression, but Spivey maintained that the inclusion of “sex” and “gender” in the policy covers the trans community.
“I can tell you for a fact that our policy includes transgender people,” Spivey said. “When we say sex and gender, for us, that’s all-inclusive.”