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Trans Awareness Week: How CSU celebrates trans resilience

Trans+Awareness+Week%3A+How+CSU+celebrates+trans+resilience
Collegian | Eli Crocker

For many Colorado State University students, having a community on campus is one of the most important parts of the college experience. Queer and transgender students often find this within the Pride Resource Center.

Transgender Awareness Week takes place each year the week before Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20. CSU’s Pride Resource Center hosted a remembrance event Nov. 16 in addition to providing support and resources to trans students on a regular basis. Trans Awareness Week is crucial to a community that is consistently resilient in the face of adversity, and it highlights the importance of remembering transgender individuals who came before as well as those in future generations. 

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Airi Bowden, a fifth-year agricultural education literacy major and PRC student staff member, spoke about how ze has both experienced and observed resiliency within the trans community.

“Resiliency is generally in the face of hardships — otherwise we wouldn’t need to be resilient, it would just be existing,” Bowden said. “Having things like Trans Day of Remembrance is acknowledging that there’s a lot of grief around this but also … the future of trans people.”

Creating safe spaces is incredibly important in encouraging and fostering resiliency.

“Not utilized often is holding space for things that have happened to the trans community and acknowledging that everything isn’t right in the world,” Bowden said. “You can’t move past it if you haven’t, like, acknowledged that it’s a problem.”

PRC Director Maggie Hendrickson spoke on the importance of the event and how they wanted to make sure Trans Day of Remembrance events were as inclusive as possible. 

“This event was originally created because many trans people are not honored or remembered in death or are even misgendered in death,” Hendrickson said. “So this is an example of chosen family and community care within the queer and trans communities.”

“We work with local organizations like (Northern Colorado) Equality, SPLASH (Supporting Pride Learning and Social Happenings), PFLAG (Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Eclectic and others to make sure this event is truly a Northern Colorado event, not just a CSU event,” Hendrickson said.

The PRC frequently works on issues within the queer and trans communities, but there is always work to be done by both members of the community and allies. 

Fourth-year art student Reagan Amberg is one of the graphic designers for the PRC.

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“One thing to work on in trans communities is just broadening our perspective on what it means to be trans, … recognizing and giving space to BIPOC trans people and not making it a white-dominated space,” Amberg said.

Devy Winder is a first-year computer science student who spends time hanging out in the PRC and has also attended voice workshops that the PRC hosts — one of the many resources available to trans students. 

“When I go to these voice workshops, I’ve seen people looking to better themselves and to persist, to keep being themselves, even when it’s difficult,” Winder said. “I think it’s a good thing those resources are offered.”

While CSU as an institution makes an effort to be inclusive and provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students, it doesn’t always feel that way to some queer students.

“Sometimes the university could make better communications about our community,” Winder said. “I’m a person, not just a fancy acronym.”

Within the CSU community, there is queer and trans representation all across campus and beyond.

“There is an unprecedented amount of being unafraid to be present and out,” Winder said. “Being there for each other in the face of the many struggles we face with gender dysphoria or social discrimination and things like that, to just have each other’s back and to be shoulders for each other.” 

Emphasizing the importance of this week is crucial for the Pride Resource Center and its staff.

“The goal of TDOR is to honor the lives of trans people who have died in the past year due to anti-trans violence and to look to a future where less violence occurs against our community,” Hendrickson said.

Reach Aubree Miller at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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