By Emily Hubbel
and Brittany Dekorte
This past Thursday, students traveling through the student center probably saw the table set up by Out-Space. The table’s mission: inform the student body about the upcoming Transgender Day of Remembrance. Out-Space is the LGBTQ+ club for WCC, and the club’s focus is community outreach and education.
TDOR is an annual day of remembrance, usually held on Nov. 20, for trans people who died due to violent hate crimes. First held in 1999, today’s political climate has spurred an extra focus on the date for those in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
All Out-Space members expressed the urgency that the Trump presidency has caused for activism, particularly regarding transgender issues.
Daniela Page-Sander, who is attending WCC for elementary education and is the leader of Out-Space, said “We had literally just gone over this really tough hill about marriage equality and stuff, and there was this whole celebration and everyone was so happy, and then Trump got elected.”
Jen, age 20, who is attending WCC for health care foundations, said, “A lot of it has to do with when marriage equality happened, people were like ‘OK, it’s done. We’ve won, the gays have won but it’s like ‘no, not even close.’” Jen asked for her last name to not be used, because she is not publicly out.
“My family celebrates the day of the dead because we’re part Hispanic, so I want to do something similar for Transgender Day of Remembrance, like maybe lighting a candle for all those who have suffered,” Page-Sander said.
Jen mentioned a big reason she thinks we need a Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“A lot of it centers around the idea of passing, where people basically assume that trans people want to be like cis people, and that’s the ideal,” Jen said. “And the whole idea is that you’re going to look ‘like’ a cis person, so the whole idea is that you’re ‘masquerading’ as a cis person. Which is really problematic because we really are the gender that we say we are, it’s not like we’re pretending to be something we’re not.”
Jen also said that one way that WCC can do better for its transgender students is to make sure teachers use a trans student’s name and correct pronouns.
“When you apply, specifically for those who want to use a different name, you have to go to the student center, and be very visibly talking to a person and saying ‘I want to use this preferred name’ which for some people is going to be really not OK because for some people they’re not out yet necessarily. So they don’t want to be as visible,” said Jen.
Jen elaborated on the subject of how using the right name can affect transgender students. “It’s not clear, on your schedules, what’s the legal name and the preferred name. And they show the legal name and the preferred name, which I guess I can understand, but I don’t think (the teachers) need to know my legal name. So my first day of class I was called by my birth name, and was super uncomfortable the entire class, and it pretty much ruined that whole day of class for me because I couldn’t pay attention.”
Page-Sander agrees that teachers could do more to help trans students, and that using inclusive language is also important.