Post election is an extremely scary time for many people, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Community. While this community is all at risk of losing its rights, the transgender community is especially at risk. Let’s remember that this week.
This at Montclair State University is Transgender Visibility Week, where this community will not only be recognized and visible, but also remembered for those who can no longer speak up.
All week, transgender flags will be sold in the student center lobby, which will also be raised in the quad on Monday at 12PM. The colors of the flag are blue, pink, and white, created by Monica Helms in 1999. Helms described the flag in a Huffington Post article as: “The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.”
There will also be a photography exhibit by undergraduate student Ashley Alleyene, Wings. Wings is in honor of Sam, a transgender woman who was lost to suicide. Alleyene’s website explains the project as “a photography project meant to inspire, empower and raise awareness of the transgender community and to also honor Sam Price, who was an avid activist and a beautiful transwoman inside and out.” The display will be on the windows of the Student Center Annex.
A second photographer, Candace Feit’s work will also be displayed on Monday, November 14th in Dickson Hall from 5:30-7pm. Feit’s In Search of the Feminine in the Devine showcases her work where she photographed one of India’s gender non-conforming communities. Her work has been featured in both the New York and Los Angeles Times as well as National Geographic Magazine.
On Wednesday night, there will be a self care event with yoga, crafts, and other de-stress activities. With school work that might be piling up, this is a great time to relax and have some time to just take care of yourself. The event will be in the Student Center Ballrooms from 7-10pm.
A self-care event is perfect for preparing for the next event: the candlelight vigil. The LGBTQ Center holds many vigils throughout the year, and the annual Transgender Visibility Week one is always emotional, probably because of the number of names that are called out. Last year there were 271 names read of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who’ve been murdered since October and this year it is 295. The vigil will be held in the Student Center quad, where participants will read the names and information about the individuals, such as how they were murdered. After this there will be a family dinner to bring everyone together after this emotional remembrance of those who no longer have a voice.
Recent news of the election has had many negative effects on minority groups, and transgender folks are certainly one of them. Some folks are using the time to get surgeries and/or make name changes in case Trump takes away these rights if he takes office next year. Trans Lifeline, a hotline for trans folks, has got an extreme increase in phone calls.
Let’s use this week to come together for those who are no longer with us and remember how precious life is for everyone. This is also a great time to learn more about the transgender community.
For more resources, visit the LGBTQ Center in Student Center Room 110 within the Office of Equity and Diversity.
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