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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

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LFTE: A note on the Transgender Awareness edition

Graphic illustration depicting hands holding a parchment letter that reads "Letter from the Editor" surrounded by a collage of envelopes in the background
(Graphic Illustration by Jake Dunaetz | The Collegian)

Dear readers, 

This Transgender Awareness special edition began when The Collegian photographer Colin Shepherd came up with the idea to document Colorado State University student Kaz Smith’s transition. 


Kaz is a dear friend of mine and has been very transparent about his experiences, posting self-portraits and vlogs on social media throughout his transition. After further considering the underrepresentation of the gender-nonconforming community as a whole, we realized that Kaz’s willingness to be photographed and interviewed presented a chance to document him through his transition. 

Starting from one long-form photo story, the documentation of Kaz’s transition turned into an entire special edition including features on other members of the gender-nonconforming community in Fort Collins and providing resources. 

Transgender Awareness Week, celebrated from Nov. 13-19, was started as a week of recognition leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20. Gwendolyn Ann Smith founded it in 1999 as a day to commemorate the lives lost to anti-transgender violence. Transgender Awareness Week now serves as a nationwide occasion to bring visibility to the discrimination that this community faces. 

We recognize that we are unable to represent every member of the community in just one newspaper. However, our hope is that these stories can resonate with people across the gender spectrum and bring awareness to this important subject.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you are able to gain something from the stories and resources that follow. 


Anna von Pechmann

Photo director 

Anna von Pechmann can be reached at or Instagram @101avp.


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