RADIUS, SUNY Plattsburgh’s LGBT inclusion resource celebrated Transgender Awareness Week by bringing awareness to issues the transgender community faces such as discrimination, prejudice and violence with educational social media posts and presentations leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The week is recognized nationally from Nov 13-17, with the goal of spreading awareness and advocacy for individuals who identify as transgender and creating effective allies.
Zyaijah Nadler, violence prevention education and outreach coordinator and chair of RADIUS, said that being an active ally means understanding that not everyone is always able to go out with a pitch fork and protest. She said an ally should think about small things that can be done to make someone feel included and advocated for.
All week the TV screen in the Hub displayed a list of things that are transphobic and why and they utilized their Facebook and Instagram pages, posting something new every day such as laws that effect the transgender community and the importance of pronouns.
Sophomore Title IV intern Aracelis Rodriguez did a presentation to inform students about the different pronouns, explaining how and when to use them.
“It’s not normalized in the way that it should be,” Nadler said.
They discussed how professors can normalize asking someone’s pronouns in the classroom. Nadler said it is important to not only ask people’s pronouns the first day, but to check in again at midterms.
“As you go through college you’re exploring more and more about yourself so how you felt your first week of school may not be how you feel by midterms or finals week.”
“Depending on the household you grew up in, you may not be knowledgeable about these things,” Rodriguez said. “As students, we should have the ability to educate people and make an impact not only here on campus but out in the community as well, because it can be easy for us to adapt but for the older generation it can be more difficult.”
RADIUS collaborated with the Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance, a local nonprofit LGBT community resource, to reach beyond the Plattsburgh State campus.
“I think it’s important to bring awareness to people with vulnerable identities minority communities and events like this bring awareness to the hardships that they face and the struggles of these identities,” senior Title IV intern Sam Hinman said. “But it’s also important to focus on the positive parts of those identities and celebrate the resilience of these communities, and what we can do moving forward to help these communities.”
Hinman presented about the violence in the transgender community and how the majority that are killed are transgender women of color.
The final event was Transgender Day of Reemergence, a ceremony to memorialize those who have murdered as a result of transphobia. The ceremony included a reading of all the victims names to humanize and remember them.
“Trans awareness week is only a week but it’s just a starting point as interns and students we just lay the groundwork for people to start being intrigued and start building more knowledge,” Rodriguez said.