In the fall of 2015, after a varied career path and a home life as a husband and father, Barton Grover made a momentous decision: he began the transition to female and became Bethany Grace. Since starting the doctoral program at the University of Oregon three years ago, Bethany has studied transgender individuals and communities all over the country, most recently in New York City (where she also bragged of eating pizza in all five boroughs). Along the way, Bethany has done what she can to educate audiences about transgender issues, both in lecture format and as a stand-up comedian. In this program, Bethany will tell of her journey, from her initial doubts and her questions about the need for surgeries to the move to liberal Eugene and her research in the conservative towns of Texas.
Following graduation from the University of Colorado in 1992, Bethany pursued a variety of occupations: teacher, hotel manager, performer and media manager for Disney on Ice, and collegiate and major league baseball mascot. She worked as a reporter and then humor columnist in Lincoln County, Oregon. She won several awards for narrative and feature writing. She later switched her journalism pursuits from writing to teaching, when she became a middle and high school teacher of journalism, drama, English, and social studies. She maintained this role until enrolling as a doctoral student in the UO School of Journalism and Communication, which will award her a PhD this spring.
Bethany writes transgender-related commentary for local papers and national publications. Her thoughts on navigating the cisgender world as a transgender woman have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, the Toronto Starand The Oregonian. Presenting at schools as well as at professional and academic conferences, Bethany aims to help people understand a very misunderstood part of the population. And if not, she also does stand-up comedy on a semi-regular basis around Eugene, where hopefully they’re at least learning tolaugh with her.