Ellen DeGeneres used her 13th season premiere episode to make a special request on behalf a black trans woman who can’t get into nursing school.
“[I’ve applied to six different nursing programs] and I was denied all six times,” Blossom Brown told DeGeneres and guest Caitlyn Jenner.
DeGeneres then cut in and asked, “because you’re trans?”
“It kind of dawned on me that the most likely reason is because I’m trans. I started publicly transitioning the year I applied to nursing school and I think that negatively affected the school’s decision,” Brown, who lives in MIssissippi, wrote in a blog post for the LGBT civil-rights group Human Rights Campaign.
Brown, 28, says she has straights As and good test scores but she can’t find a medical nursing program that will accept her. According to Brown, she’s met people with lower grade point averages and test scores who have been admitted to the programs.
“I just couldn’t [get in],” she told DeGeneres. “They wouldn’t let me.”
While many universities include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies, Brown’s experience is calling attention to the fact that there are schools that don’t include gender identity in the list of protected classes.
“We want to help Blossom get into nursing school,” DeGeneres said looking into the camera. Jenner stressed that Brown wants to go to nursing school so she can give back to her community.
“[If] there’s a nursing school [watching] please get in touch with us so we can in touch with Blossom,” DeGeneres said.
Brown says she did mention in her application that she is transgender because she wants to be her authentic self and because she wants to return to practice nursing and work with other trans women like her.
“The decision to live openly comes easily to no one,” Brown wrote on HRC’s blog. “There is not one day when I don’t wake up, get dressed and think that I might be a target. The statistics bear this out. At least 19 transgender people — almost all of them women of color like me — have been murdered this year in the United States,” Brown said.
The Clarion-Ledger conducted an analysis of nondiscrimination policies at Mississippi nursing schools and found that two of five extended protections to transgender students.