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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    March a means for expression

    Members of the transgender, lesbian, gay and bi-affectionate community came out Saturday for the second annual Freedom of Expression March and Rally.

    “”We are expressing our freedom, freedom of expression and expression of gender, which is something that impacts all of us because we all have a gender,”” said Jennifer Hoefle, senior coordinator of social justice programs and campus activities.

    The UA Pride Alliance and the Eon Youth Lounge put on the march, which started at the Old Main Fountain, 1200 E. University Blvd., and ended at Wingspan, 425 E. Seventh St., the Southern Arizona lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center.

    The event was meant to raise awareness of the variety of sexual identities present in the community, said Julianna Bradley, UA director of diversity initiatives.

    The transgender community does not get the recognition or appreciation it deserves from the community, said Chase Sutton, co-director of Pride Alliance.

    “”This event provides the opportunity for them to show that they are part of the community and have just as (many) rights as any gay or bisexual does,”” said Sutton, a sociology sophomore.

    Thirty people gathered at the fountain to listen to two speakers before the march.

    The first speaker, Wingspan board member Alison Davison, said she was impressed to see how the transgender culture is being recognized in Southern Arizona.

    “”In Tucson, we are almost just like everyone else,”” Davison said. “”We can even pee where we need to, at least on campus.””

    Transgender individuals have become social icons of free expression, she said.

    “”Everyone loves us and wants to be our friends,”” she said. “”You can’t get any cooler.””

    The second speaker, a woman who goes by the name Michelle C., said that expressing herself freely has cost her family, her lovers and possibly her life.

    She has had multiple surgeries, including laser procedures, to her face and silicone injected into her body to become more feminine.

    “”Am I a woman or a man?”” she said. “”I don’t give a damn!””

    The march was part of the Transgender Awareness Week, which began Nov. 12 and ends tomorrow.

    The week has featured seminars, discussions and film screenings, and will conclude with a local observance of the ninth annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance at Catalina Park, Hoefle said.

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