NEWS

A journey through food

Transgender chef chronicles road to self-acceptance
March 08, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Liam Emery Kamp (left) and Marie-Therese Sulit, associate professor of English at Mount Saint Mary College. 

 

Chef Liam Emery Kamp, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, recently discussed his trials and triumphs as a transgender man in “A Journey through Food: A Trans’ Pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness” at Mount Saint Mary College.

Throughout high school, Kamp – then known as Patricia – had a difficult time grasping his identity. He knew something felt “off,” he said, and he assumed he was a lesbian.

“I was terrified,” he explained. “Because my feeling was that people who identified as gay, bisexual, or lesbian were considered weird.”

It wasn’t until Kamp was knee-deep in culinary school, he explained, that he was able to fully comprehend and embrace identifying as a transgender man.

Kamp worked as a resident assistant at the culinary school, and one day, while discussing work matters with his resident director, the RD asked if there was anything else Kamp would like to add before ending the meeting.

“Yes,” said Kamp. “I want to go by Liam now. I want to use male pronouns. I hope that’s cool.”

“That’s fine,” she replied positively.

Thus Kamp began his public transition and “I never looked back,” he said.

Kamp said Mount students can conquer whatever challenges they face with the same mentality he used to get through culinary school.

“You need to learn how to cook, you need to learn new recipes,” he said. “So applying that to everyone: You need to meet new people, try new things, and not just stay in a little box. And you’re allowed to make mistakes. Just be fearless.”

The talk was spearheaded by Marie-Therese Sulit, associate professor of English, and sponsored by the Mount Saint Mary College Honors Program. The rigorous Honors Program, open to all majors, challenges students to maximize their learning and leadership skills.