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Nov. 14-20 Marks Transgender Awareness Week


By Carolynn Gonzalez

Transgender people and advocates will come together on Nov. 14 through 20 to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to supporting transgender people everywhere, raising visibility of transgender people and educating the public on this topic. The entire week leads up to the last day, Nov 20, which is known as Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to honor those of the transgender community who were lost to acts of violence for being themselves.

“I believe that a main struggle of transgender individuals is lack of knowledge,” senior and president of Gay Straight Alliance Club (GSA) Madi Bowen, said. “Many people, even many young people who are otherwise very knowledgeable, know little about the subject and have little understanding of it.”

GSA meets on Thursdays where they support each other and learn about and discuss sexuality and gender-related issues that some experience on a daily basis.

“Your gender is how you identify, not exactly what you were born as, which is something many people confuse,” senior Andrew Stoker said. “The majority of the time, they do match up, but for others they don’t and that’s perfectly okay.”

Transgender people, especially transgender women and transgender people of color, are often the victims of violence, harassment and isolation from society and their families because of their decision to become transgender. According to Mary Kerr-Grant, counselor and sponsor of GSA, informing society about the transgender community and the problems they face will help take away the stigma that surrounds transgender people.

“It’s okay to not fully understand, but you still have the responsibility to not harass people different from you,” Kerr-Grant said. “Sometimes it’s hard to grasp even if your heart is open.”
Educating others, attending festivals and wearing the colors of the transgender flag are some of the many ways people can and do support the transgender community on a daily basis and celebrate Transgender Awareness Week. Representation of transgender people and other minorities in the media is also very important, according to Stoker.

“I think in recent time with people like Caitlyn Jenner, Gigi Gorgeous, Chaz Bono and shows like Transparent, representation has increased,” Stoker said. “However, there is still a lacking of representation and I would love to see that changed.”

Though GSA has yet to decide what they will do for Transgender Awareness Week, it is certain that something to bring about awareness will be planned. Also, GSA plans to inform the student body with an assembly on transgender people this spring.

“It would be nice to help spread awareness of the issue or even just simply be kind,” Bowen said. “I think it’s a good time to bring awareness to the topic and spread information about it so that it is not such a foreign topic to everyone.”