Commemorating Trans Visibility Week

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The University of Illinois Springfield kicks off another string of inclusive events celebrating diversity, widespread community support and equality for all. UIS’ second-ever-hosted Trans Visibility Week is co-sponsored by the UIS Women’s Center, Organization of Latin American Students, and Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc.

Andrea Duvendack, graduate assistant of Gender & Sexuality Student Services and coordinator of Trans Visibility Week, stated that multiple subsets of the transgender community are represented by this week of commemoration.

“A lot of our events are geared not just toward trans people themselves, but trans people of color as well, what it’s like being a racial and gender minority… it’s about raising awareness.”

The event “Chisme: What’s the T?” emulates this inclusivity by covering the topic of dating and relationships for trans women of color, representing those two immensely marginalized and oppressed groups within the LGBTQ+ community. It will be held on Friday, March 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Diversity Center (SLB 22).

Other topics covered during Trans Visibility Week include trans individuals within the Latinx community and alternative Spanish gender-inclusive terminology, how to help traditional families be more open-minded and Gamma Phi Omega’s inclusion of transgender individuals. The UIS chapter of this multicultural sorority is the first in all of American history to do so.

This series of events aims to educate people regarding the struggles of transgender individuals and advise allies and members on how to bolster inclusivity as well as show support for this particular facet of the LGBTQ+ community. An intersectional approach is taken to ensure that every group has a voice. Trans Visibility Week starts on Wednesday, March 27 and ends on Wednesday, April 3.

All events during Trans Visibility Week, Duvendack explained, are made to feel small and intimate. This helps students realize that each event is a safe, open place for dialogue and respect for each individual’s liberated self-expression.

The best way to show support as an ally or member of the community, she said, is to attend the events and spread the word. One may also register for Safe Zone sessions to become a member. The Safe Zone session during this week is the only event that is not open to the public. The hope is that there will eventually be full acceptance of or transgender individuals. Policy changes, open discussion, compassionate listening, and increasing the number of supporters are all steps in the right direction. The future that equality will create is one of unity, peace, and progress.

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