by Luke Hartman & Lauren Carr, Editors
Caitlyn Jenner, Leelah Alcorn and Kyler Prescott are a few names that have made headlines recently. Through triumph and tragedy, these names have made an impact on the transgender community and have been the topic of conversation by bringing these issues to light. In order to continue the conversation on campus, LGBT Friends and Allies president Ivan Rios brought Transgender Week to MC.
“Most people have a misconception about the transgender community,” Rios said. “I wanted people to be aware that transgender people do exist and are normal like everyone else, as well as educate the campus on the issue of pronoun bullying.”
Rios’ goal is to build a community on campus where people feel as though they have a safe place to turn to or to simply talk about issues regarding the community.
“Especially on our campus where the LGBT presence is rare and quiet, I feel like the work Ivan has done to bring light to this important issue is extremely important and timely,” senior Maggie Kavanaugh said.
Throughout the week there were numerous events on campus. Last year 40 people attended an event as part of mission month where they discussed LGBT Lasallians. The event was attended by members of the LGBT+ community, teachers and faculty. Transgender week brought together the same people but in a more intimate setting.
“The transgender awareness event was a more intimate crowd, having about 15 people, which included a faculty member, many allies, and a few from the LGBT+ community,” Rios said.
Next year Rios has plans to partner with NYU to have an event that will help promote medical care for the LGBT+ community amongst other topics. Plans for this event will not be finalized until next semester.
“While I didn’t get to attend the event myself, I heard from friends that attended that it was well organized and also brought up important issues that need to be addressed as a college community,” senior Kevin Hill said.
According to Rios, people simply need to be educated on this topic and what they stand for in order to gain a better understanding.
“I believe the most important way to increase visibility and acceptance of the LGBT community on campus is to educate,” Rios said. “More people need to take an initiative to educate themselves, and I believe it would be a tremendous help if more students were to get involved along with faculty. This would show greater support all around, allowing people to be comfortable in their skin. Many people have the idea that since this is a Lasallian college, that they hold the same views as the church, which is not true.”
“There is definitely a large portion of our community that need to be educated not only about trans issues, but LGBT issues as whole. The only way to truly battle ignorance is through education. One’s background, upbringing or beliefs are no excuse to be unintelligent or hateful,” senior Taylor Allen said.
The response for this community, as well as Transgender Awareness Week, has received positive support across campus from the students to the faculty.
“Everyone seems to be on board with the idea of the club. There has been no discrimination towards us, in fact, everyone I have spoken to has tried to help in one way or another,” Rios said.