Issues of Sexuality, Inequality Showcased

From+left+to+right%3A+Andrea+Duvendack%2C+Stacie+Cowan%2C+Tonya+Cowan%2C+and+Kerry+Poynter

Photographs courtesy of Naini Naresh

From left to right: Andrea Duvendack, Stacie Cowan, Tonya Cowan, and Kerry Poynter

As much of the student body is aware, this week (March 26th to March 29th) is Trans Visibility Week at UIS in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is March 31st. There have been several events on campus throughout the week celebrating transgender individuals and raising awareness of the worldwide discrimination against transgender people. 

One of the events was called the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series, in which a multitude of artists showcased the hardships that transgender individuals endure simply because they do not identify with their assigned biological sex. 

Submitting their own art and coordinating the event is artist Micah Bazant. Bazant is known for their integration of social justice issues and artwork. Issues such as race, gender, sexuality, discrimination, injustice faced by trans individuals, and survival are prominent in artwork of Bazant and others. 

Each piece in the series has an image of a person and words surrounding them in some fashion. Many of the people referenced in the images are people who are openly transgender, and whom have spoken out against social injustice in the United States. Each work carries with it an emotional tone, as the stories of transgender and non-binary individuals were displayed visually. One of the pieces featured depicts a non-binary individual named Noah, with their hand laying on their chest adorned with the words, “I will love myself unapologetically – Noah Jenkins” to the side. 

The goal of the art shown at the event was to speak out against discrimination in our culture. The artists seek to empower others through the depictions of personal journeys faced with injustices in order to promote social change. People who are part of any minority group want to not only be heard, but listened to. 

This week, there have been several events on campus focusing on transgender visibility, though, this event in particular carried a sadness with it. The pieces were eye-opening, as it is quite jarring to recognize how many people must endure hardship simply for being their truest selves. We at the UIS Journal applaud the efforts of UIS to celebrate transgender individuals instead of discriminating against them.