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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pride Alliance hosts week for transgender student awareness

ASUA Pride Alliance is teaching students what it means to be transgender.

Transgender Awareness Week starts today with a list of events, including a resource fair on the UA Mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The club will use this week as a way to help educate UA students about gender identity.

It also hopes the week will be a resource for transgender people as well as others in the community.

“I want people to get an increase in their abilities to become allies, and be able to help advocate for equality and equal rights for transgender people,” said Erin Russ, program coordinator and anti-violence programs advocate for Southern Arizona Gender Alliance.

Throughout the week, programs and events ranging from concerts, art exhibits and workshops sponsored by SAGA, Wingspan, and the UA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning Student Affairs will happen all over campus.

More than 100 kites will also be displayed on the UA Mall on Wednesday to represent the number of transgender-related murders that occurred this year. The number was provided by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, part of the Transgender Europe organization that collects data on anti-trans crimes all over the world.

“A kite is made for every victim of trans violence,” said Kaleb Stephens, a member of Pride Alliance and a sophomore studying ecology and evolutionary biology. “So I think that this is pretty impactful.”

Pride Alliance will also bring back some of its popular events over the years, like “Ask a Transgender Person Anything,” during which a panel of transgender, transsexual and gender-queer people will take questions from students about gender and identity.

“Come prepared to learn, be respectful and really don’t be afraid if you don’t know anything,” Stephens said. “All the events are going to be really accessible to people who are not used to trans issues, so you will be able to learn a lot.”

Casey Condit, a programs manager for Wingspan, a center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said she wants to accomplish two things this week. The first is to teach UA students about the transgender community and the second is to allow people who are a part of the community or questioning to come together.

“I hope they will be able to connect with one another and feel empowered and feel a part of a vibrant community who are confident in their gender,” Condit said.

This week is unique to the UA because Tucson has an anti-discrimination policy that prohibits people from legally discriminating someone from employment, housing and education based on factors including sexual orientation and gender identity, Condit said.

All events will lead up to a to a procession on Saturday’s International Transgender Day of Rememberance. The procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of Old Main and continue down University Boulevard to Fourth Avenue. It will be used to remember people who have died of transgender-related hate crimes this past year.

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