Laurier celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility

GRAPHIC BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

This year’s Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31.

 

The day serves to both celebrate trans people and their accomplishments, as well as raise awareness about the discrimination they continue to face.

 

“It’s been a day that traditionally has hosted things like vigils or joyful celebrations,” said Eden Hennessey, manager of the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CSEDI).

 

The CSEDI’s goal is to “cultivate a culture on campus that respects everybody and promotes equity and diversity and inclusion as well as social justice,” said Hennessey. Part of this goal is the celebration of days such as the Transgender Day of Visibility.

 

The tone of this day is “both hopeful and also a reminder of the work that really needs to be done,” said Hennessey. 

 

It is mainly celebratory of all that has been achieved, and all that is yet to come.

 

The Transgender Day of Visibility is “about pushing back against transphobia, cissexism, and erasure, but also uplifting and empowering trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming voices,” said Queer Sphere, Laurier Brantford’s LGBTQIA+ collective.

 

“Building spaces of community and solidarity for trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks has changed significantly since the start of COVID-19,” said Queer Sphere.

 

Because of the different backgrounds and situations many trans individuals find themselves in, celebrating online looks different for everyone.

 

Like many things, this day looks different during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

This year, CSEDI is putting together a large social media campaign. Seeing as students are busy with the various responsibilities that come with online school and living during a pandemic, 

 

Hennessey said that for CSEDI, this year’s focus is mainly on “taking the day to relax and rest and take care of yourself.”

 

She also stresses the importance of understanding how the pandemic has impacted certain groups in different ways. 

 

“I think it’s just important for all of us to keep in mind that depending on your position in the world and your identity, you might be experiencing this pandemic differently,” she explained. 

 

COVID-19 has impacted the transgender community in ways different to the cisgender community, and it is important to recognize the additional difficulties this pandemic has brought for many equity deserving groups.

 

For those wishing to support the transgender community on this day, Hennessey recommends connecting with student collectives such as Queer Sphere and extending a note of thanks for the work they do. 

 

In addition, she explains that “there are different ways in which you can signal inclusion to folks who might not necessarily feel the safest in disclosing different aspects of their Identity.”

 

An example is putting your pronouns in your email signature or Zoom name.

 

Amplifying trans voices is also an important step. Social media actions such as shares, likes, and retweets can go a long way, as can staying up to date on research scholarship and works by trans authors.

 

Queer Sphere is collecting anonymous experiences from trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals to celebrate the Transgender Day of Visibility. 

 

They hope to spread “more compassion, love, and to highlight the many beautiful things about being trans.”

 

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