In order to spread education, awareness, and advocacy on West Chester University’s campus, the Office of LGBTQA Services is hosting many events in celebration of Transgender Awareness Month.
November began with Trans 101 sessions that educated faculty and staff participants on ways to support transgender individuals both on and off campus, how to be a better ally to transgender community members, and how to stop transphobia on campus. These events aim to eradicate negative stigmas and make WCU safe for all of its students.
Besides these sessions, the LGBTQA hosted a Trans Awareness panel on Wednesday, Nov. 11 that gave transgender speakers the opportunity to share their stories. This allowed an audience of their peers to recognize both challenging and rewarding experiences in their lives as well as allowing audience members to ask any questions they may have had about the transgender community.
The panel was full of stories that allowed audience members the chance to hear firsthand experiences of transgender members of the community.
In addition to personal experiences, the panel also discussed the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, an amendment to the 1955 Human Rights Act, that is more inclusive of transgender rights, with emphasis on healthcare coverage and job security.
Members of the LGBTQA have already sent letters encouraging President Greg Weisenstein to publicly support this act as presidents of other universities within Pennsylvania have, and they look forward to his response.
Trans Awareness Month will continue with a screening of the movie “Trans” in Sykes Student Union 255 on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m. There will be dinner provided by Aramark and a discussion following the movie.
The LGBTQA will host another event on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 p.m. The Trans Day of Remembrance was created in order to remember those whose lives have been lost due to hatred and violence against the transgender community. Everyone is encouraged to attend in order to show support and honor those the community has lost.
One of the speakers at the Trans Awareness panel said, “Change only happens if a lot of people ask for it. Be an open ally.”
Recently, the LGBTQA found out that WCU has approved gender-neutral housing for the 2016-2017 school year.
The LGBTQA hopes to see many attend the events they are hosting and looks forward to continued support.
Arden Colleluori is a third-year student majoring in English writing and women’s and gender studies with a minor in Spanish. She can be reached at AC809169@wcupa.edu.