TOBGLAD takes on Trans Awarness Week

Ky Watnick


Individuals and organizations across the country will be observing Trans Awareness Week Nov. 12 – Nov. 19, 2018. According to, “Transgender (Trans) Awareness Week is a time for transgender people and their allies to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the public and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face.” It is a time for any and all non-cisgender folk to celebrate their identities, for those who can to show their support, and for those who do not know to learn about trans identities and trans-identifying people.

For Trans Awareness Week, the Transgender, Other-Identified, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Allies for Diversity (TOBGLAD) club on campus will be honoring those of non-cis genders who have been killed in hate crimes this year through a vigil. Today, Nov. 15, the club will meet at its usual time, 5 p.m. in Deihl 118 before going out to Campus Courtyard for the vigil where 22 trans people will be honored through sharing information and lighting candles in their memory.

 The club has been planning this event all semester. Second-year TOBGLAD President Cole DiGrazia said, “We just want to show all the trans students here that they have support and really create a community for them here on campus.”

Last week, TOBGLAD met to make posters in honor of the victims. Each member designed a poster for one or more of the victims using a printed photograph and information found through internet research. All 22 victims have been killed through a hate crime; most were shot, some were even killed by loved ones. Though there will be the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, it is always important to bring visibility to human suffering in a respectful manner.

“Trans Awareness Week represents a chance for me to feel heard and acknowledged,” said fourth-year Astra Yatroussis. This is one of the most important things for most trans-identifying people on campus. In order to spread awareness and visibility, there will be a Trans Ally Training event in Deihl 118 at 5 p.m. today, Nov. 15. “I think the feeling of invisibility and disregard so frequently experienced by trans persons is extremely disempowering, especially to those just beginning to wrestle with their identity,” said Yatroussis.

It has been a common theme with time dedicated to awarness to spend much of it remembering lives lost and times of great strain. This is because the very nature of awareness is born from a painful history or a misunderstood concept of some sort. The most famous awareness times are Cancer Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Week, or World AIDS Day. Rather than being made for celebrating, these are made for discussion, for visibility, or for remembrance, hence why there are few festivities for Trans Awareness Week on campus.

 “Being able to hear stories of similar experiences and those who have lived honest, happy, and fulfilling lives is the best remedy for that kind of hopelessness,” said Yatroussis. “I believe Trans Awareness Week is best celebrated by sharing stitch stories of hope. I understand the focus on tragedy, but, ultimately, it is stories of hope that will empower younger generations of trans people to seize control of their lives and foster acceptance and understanding among broader society.”

 In that way, there was a Real Boy screening on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Real Boy is a documentary about the experience of a young man’s transition to being himself.