In November, the transgender community is recognized, celebrated and supported with two national observances: Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance. At U of G, we are committed to providing safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for everyone. Several events are planned throughout November to recognize these observances and support the trans community.
“Our goal is to make spaces that are not just trans-affirming, but also celebrate trans identities,” says Caleb Harwood, U of G’s sexual and gender diversity adviser. “We really want to put that at the forefront through the next weeks as we move through Trans Awareness Week and to the Trans Day of Remembrance.”
Transgender Awareness Week
Transgender Awareness week is celebrated Nov. 14 to 18 with the goal of increasing visibility and awareness of the transgender community. The week also calls to attention issues faced by members of the community.
Harwood notes that the discrimination and marginalization of trans and gender diverse people lead to higher rates of violence against these individuals and an increase in isolation, suicide and mental health concerns.
“Trans Awareness Week provides a time dedicated to fighting transphobia and building space for allyship, understanding and community,” says Harwood.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Nov. 20 marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) that honours those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
TDOR was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death and began an important tradition to honour transgender lives lost.
The University is committed to furthering a campus culture that affirms everyone’s lived experiences and identities. It’s a culture we all have a role in creating and sustaining. From ongoing learning to sharing resources and creating safe, affirming spaces, we have a collective responsibility in allyship and support of the transgender community.
Says Harwood, “If you are an ally or a part of the community and want to learn more about Transgender Day of Remembrance and how to better grow in your awareness, an easy place to start is look at websites, like GLAAD, and then take the initiative to do the difficult but important active unlearning of biases and relearning of truth around trans lives and the community.”
Thursday, Nov. 17 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This week’s discussion topic is Mental Health. A guest from Student Wellness will help with the discussion and share resources.
Friday, Nov. 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Join OUTline and GQE in Peter Clark Hall to finish off Trans Awareness Week with a fun, sober LGBTQ2IA+ Community-Building social. There will be social games to facilitate friend-making, free food and drink, and a quiet craft area for those who need a break from socializing!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
On Sunday, Nov. 20, check out the Student Experience Instagram account (@uofgstudentexp) for art by Winter Kraemer that celebrates the experiences of the trans community.
Student Drop-in with Caleb Harwood: Processing Space for Trans Day of Remembrance
Monday, Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon
Caleb Harwood, U of G’s sexual and gender diversity adviser, will hold space for students who need to debrief, talk or just sit in a space that acknowledges the tough emotions that can come up when we are remembering the lives lost to transphobia and hate.
Friday, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This is our first ID Clinic co-hosted by Waterloo Region Community Legal Service. They will be on site to offer free legal aid for individuals wanting to change their name and/or gender markers. The fee is covered and this event is also open to members in the broader Guelph community.