At least one transgender individual is murdered each month in the United States.
Transgender Remembrance Day, officially on Sunday, serves to raise awareness of the violence against those who did not conform to gender norms, said Stephen Cohen, a program coordinator at Cal Poly Pride Alliance.
This week, the Pride Alliance and GLBU (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals United) raised awareness about transgenderism with several events in observance of Transgender Remembrance Day.
“The word ‘transgender’ is a broad term that describes all people who feel that their anatomical sex does not match their gender identity, and/or whose appearance and behaviors do not conform to the societal roles expected of their sex,” Pride Alliance Coordinator Katrina Maksimuk said.
“Many transgendered people prefer to steer away from gender role extremes and adopt an androgynous behavioral style, including both masculinity and femininity into their appearance,” she added.
The wide spectrum of transgendered people includes male-to-female transsexuals and female-to-male transsexuals as well as cross-dressers, drag kings and drag queens.
“Many do not believe in gender as a binary, but see a continuum of possibilities between the extremes of traditional masculinity and traditional femininity,” Maksimuk said.
Throughout the week, students may have seen the memorial display set up on Dexter Lawn in remembrance of those murdered.
Ally training, a program that aims to eliminate heterosexism and homophobia on campus through education and awareness, was held on Tuesday as part of the week-long remembrance.
The program offers education to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) individuals and their straight allies on what it’s like to be LGBT and how it may affect one’s educational experience.
“We define terms and offer suggestions on how to build a more inclusive vocabulary and create a more welcoming environment on campus,” Cohen said.
“Participants are given a sticker for their office door, backpack, etc. that identifies them as an ally or designates a ‘safe space’ for LGBT students.”
Several trainings take place throughout the quarter, roughly once a month, with the next opportunity planned in February.
The week continued Wednesday night, with a dress-in-drag “Gender Bending Night” on campus, followed by a gender-bending dance fund-raiser for TransCentralCoast at Tortilla Flats.
The peak of the week’s events was the Remembrance Day Name Reading on Dexter Lawn Thursday.
“The Remembrance Day Name Reading is a memorial event where the names of murdered victims of anti-transgender hate crimes are read aloud, so we’re reminded to keep fighting the prejudice and hate that has resulted in so many lost lives,” Cohen said.
Nationally, the reading is in its seventh year. This is the second year it has been held at Cal Poly. More information, including the names of the murdered victims, may be found at www.gender.org/remembrance.
“Transgender 101,” an opportunity to ask transgender panel members about their personal experiences, will be held from noon to 2 p.m. today, in room 216 in the University Union.