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Standing in solidarity with our trans and nonbinary community for Transgender Awareness Week

A note from Dr. Aaron J. Griffen, VP of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

As a society, nation and community, our awareness of what brings us together (in addition to what makes us unique and different) is paramount and integral to ensuring all lived experiences are valued, appreciated and celebrated. Each year between Nov. 13-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility and address issues members of the transgender community face. Transgender Awareness Week offers us a time to focus on Trans joy, life and contributions to society. 

Therefore, as is the case with all social and cultural observances, it is through an asset-based lens we as a community are asked to view Trans Awareness Week. This shift in narrative helps trans and nonbinary people to see the joy, hope and ability to succeed. This does not negate the reality trans and nonbinary people face every day. Discrimination, hate crimes and legal battles being fought over their bodies and rights to exist, all cause trans people to experience a greater risk for suicide, homelessness and depression. For more information and to support trans people check out The Trevor Project.

Today we stand in solidarity, not as saviors for the trans “victim” but to amplify, uplift and celebrate our trans peers and youth. It is time to embrace the full experience our trans and nonbinary comrads, to free ourselves of our thinking that trans identity will only bring suffering and pain, to learn what is possible when we release the confines of the gender box and allow ourselves to live truly free. Allowing ourselves to be inspired by the liberation of trans identity gives each of us permission to be more fully and authentically ourselves. 

We are also celebrating the incredible Black Trans Activists that have come before us, and made equity work possible. People like Marsha Johsnon forged a new path at great personal risk and cost to her own life. Our equity work is built on a foundation built by Black trans women, and we appreciate their leadership. 

Today we stand and rejoice for those who came before us, and offer you a space to do the same by infusing your own life with trans and nonbinary beauty. 

Sharing resources for trans joy and creativity

Call to action

As we continue to build our trans awareness, we all should seek to incorporate learning about our trans neighbors, friends, colleagues, family members, and students’ daily reality into our own personal and professional development. A fantastic first step is being in the “know” versus remaining oblivious to the day-to-day resistance to their existence. Below are some resources to support us on our individual and collective continuing journeys:

Appreciating what makes us unique and individually different are paramount to the totality of our societal and cultural lived experiences. It is an integral part of the human condition to be valued and celebrated, regardless of how we show up, who we show up as and/or the way we articulate and disclose our reality.