Profile By: Jacquelyn Anderson
Meredith Bacon, formerly Wally Meredith Bacon Jr., or as she explains the change, “I just dropped the ‘alter’ and the junior,” is the first openly transgender professor at The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). She is a specialist on Romania and Moldova and has published widely on Romanian diplomatic history, civil-military relations in Romania and Moldova, the political economy of transition in both countries, and on political leadership. She is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community and an inspiration to all those around her because of her deep devotion to LGBTQ youth. She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the National Center for Transgender Equality (Washington DC) and an activist in the national transgender movement, giving educational presentations at many national/international events. She also uses her research skills every semester at All Saints Episcopal Church in Adult Christian Formation classes on Church History.
Meredith grew up in an average, middle class, Episcopalian family in New York City. She claims that growing up as a transgender boy in New York City, a highly urban area, did not affect her any differently than if she had grown up in Manhattan, Kansas. When asked if growing up in New York City made any difference, she responded, “When one is transgender, the location doesn’t make much difference … if they prevent you from being who you are, it’s psychologically damaging” (Bacon). During Meredith’s younger years, she knew from the age of four that she was different from all the other little boys around her: “I didn’t like to do the things that I was supposed to like to do. I didn’t like playing the rough-and-tumble Cowboys and Indians” (Bacon). But Meredith hardly let her feelings of being
It was during her undergraduate career that she also met her spouse, Lynne, who has played an intricate role in Meredith’s life. Very early on, Meredith fell deeply in love with Lynne. They shared deep passions for the theater and French. Meredith said, “Lynne always tells me she knew I was different” (Bacon). After Read More > >
Meredith finished her doctorate in 1975 and did her post-doctorate at the Hoover Institution. It was during this time that UNO was hiring a scholar in Soviet Politics, one of only three jobs in that academic specialty listed that year. In 1976, UNO hired Bacon. Lynne eventually secured a position at Creighton Prep teaching French and Spanish. For more than 36 years, Bacon has taught at UNO, including serving as Department Chair. While the position allowed her to focus much of her energy on her career and being a “grind,” she continued to struggle with the part of herself that she could not openly express.
In 1996, Meredith was so depressed that she was hardly able to get out of bed. The gravity of the situation became apparent when she was unable to attend a wedding in Moldova with Lynne. When
It was in 2004 that Meredith went back to the Southern Comfort Conference. She understood that everyone else there was going to be who he or she was, but she still felt the need to present herself as Professor Wally Bacon. However, she also bought a woman’s business suit and makeup Read More > >
One of the most exceptional things that Meredith has done with her life is providing a home for transgender youth. Meredith and Lynne give them a home for a short period of time where they provide structure and support for these youth between the ages of 15 and 24. Although most of the time the youth stay with them for a short period of time, there have been a couple of exceptions, some of whom have been living with them for upwards of two years:
We try to get them a safe and supportive environment, which basically means they’re not worried about someone beating them up. And when they talk about their transgender identity we support them, we let them explore it. They can dress however they want to in our house. There were times when we had four trans- youth