The Pride Center hosted a series of events this past week to celebrate Trans Week of Visibility on campus. International Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) is on March 31 and celebrates trans individuals and acknowledges their struggles and the discrimination they have faced.
The day was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a transgender activist. It was started because there was only a Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was to honor those who were murdered rather than to celebrate the life and history of transgender individuals in America.
Nico Craig, a representative for the Human Rights Campaign, shared his own experience with Trans Day of Visibility and shared that this day means more than just awareness. It means acceptance and love.
“To me, Trans Day of Visibility has a very special meaning of radical acceptance and love — acceptance and love of ourselves and our strength and power as individuals and in unity. TDOV is about being in the present moment and owning the moment, visible at our best and most vulnerable,” Craig said.
The events that the Pride Center planned strove to celebrate individuals on campus as well as invite people to learn more and to celebrate.
The Pride Center created a Transgender Joy Art Project throughout the week. All supplies were provided and the pieces will be on display through April 8 in the Pride Center’s space in the Student Union. Afterwards, artists can take their pieces home.
The center also hosted free HIV testing on Tuesday, which they host once every month. The test is rapid, so participants can get their results that same day.
There was also a Transgender Resource Fair which brought legal and healthcare resources to campus. There were job search resources for those in attendance. Bonnie Johnson, the coordinator for the Pride Center said that this event was the one she was most proud of.
There was also a viewing of the documentary “Disclosure.” This film looks at the way transgender individuals are depicted in Hollywood and the way that imagery has impacted our society. It was directed by Sam Feder and premiered on Netflix in 2020. It has appearances from Laverne Cox, Jared Leto, Elliot Fletcher and Jaime Clayton as well as several others.
The center also painted the Rock to help conclude the week of events as well as to help raise awareness of Trans Day of Visibility on campus in a way that everyone could see.
Bonnie Johnson said that these events were designed to celebrate the trans community and highlight their successes rather than the violence that is often committed against them.
“I think it’s important to note that visibility for members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community, is so important, but visibility alone is not enough. Our trans community needs safety and joy in addition to visibility and awareness,” Johnson said.
The Price Center has more events planned for this semester, such as quilt decorating on April 5, a continuation of their AIDS Quilt events, and a discussions of the book “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler on April 6, which is a continuation of their reading group nominating a book to discuss with the campus community and the author.