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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Weekend of performances helps continue transgender awareness

    Kyle Mittan
    Kyle Mittan / The Daily Wildcat California natives Bennett Gwizdalski and Joe Stevens perform at Wingspan during Front Porch Music on Saturday night. The pair made a Tucson stop for Transgender Awareness Week, which runs through Tuesday.

    For the eighth annual Transgender Awareness Week, Front Porch Music aimed to support transgender artists on Saturday evening.

    Organized by the UA and Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s LGBT community center, the event served as the meeting place for transgender allies and community members to celebrate gender individuality and orientation with music.

    “We saw it as a great opportunity to showcase some trans artists,” said Michael Woodward, a graduate assistant in the UA’s LGBTQ Affairs and co-founder of Transgender Awareness Week.

    Looking back on the week of celebration and awareness, Woodward said the events have ultimately brought the transgender community closer together in some of the largest turnouts they’ve had for events.

    “So far, this week has gone really well, and it’s not over yet,” Woodward said. “It’s so amazing to see so many people coming out for this event now; you know it’s had time to grow over the years.”

    Woodward said he’s looking forward to the final event of Transgender Awareness Week, on Tuesday evening, when Rep. Raúl Grijalva will conduct a panel discussion to address the Affordable Care Act.

    “There’s so many questions about the ACA, and I think so many people don’t understand how it’s going to benefit them especially in the trans community,” Woodward said. “We know it’s really going to help a lot because the ACA specifically prohibits discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.”
    “I think having the opportunity to hear from our leadership around what that looks like to the community … is going to be really helpful,” Woodward said. “So, I’m really looking forward to that.”

    Joe Stevens, a member of the band Coyote Grace, traveled from California to play in Front Porch Music on Saturday.

    “It’s just really cool to see the community come together and raise awareness,” Stevens said. “A lot of trans people can be very isolated, so it’s nice to have events that they can all come to.”

    Bennett Gwizdalski, an independent musician, also shared the stage with Stevens during Front Porch Music.

    “[Transgender Awareness Week] is about recognizing how far we’ve come as a community and how far we still have to go, and supporting each other and all of our individual dreams and ambitious goals,” Gwizdalski said.

    Follow Casey Knox @Knox_Casey

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