Transgender Empowerment Week at CSUN
NORTHRIDGE, CA - CSUN’s Pride Center held Trans Empowerment week November 15th through the 19th in honor of National Trans Awareness week, which is recognized November 13th through the 19th. The week seeks to bring visibility to Trans people and to spread knowledge about the transgender issues they face. However, the Pride Center says their week is geared specifically towards CSUN’s students.
The week was full of events focused on the Transgender community at CSUN, as well as allies in the community who wanted to learn more about how to better understand and support the students.
Events such as Trans 101 sought to teach allies the basic terminology familiar to trans people. One workshop taught Trans students how to legally change their name, while another instructed how to apply makeup properly.
CSUN’s Pride Center worked hard to establish a week to support their Trans students, according to Jay Hitomi, the center's interim supervisor. He said the week was in honor of the national week, but it is more personable at CSUN.
“When we were coming up with this event for the CSUN Pride Center, we felt that Trans Awareness wasn’t enough. We wanted to really create an event that served our Trans Students and made them feel centered and empowered and given access to the resources they need.”
The most anticipated event came at the end of the week on Friday, November 19th when The Pride Center held its first ever TRANscendence art show, which displayed art exclusively created by those within the Trangender community.
The Pride Center’s Acting Coordinator, Whitney Workman said the art show held a lot of significance for the week.
“The art show came about from our team wanting to specifically show the art of Trans artist and celebrate their life and work while they are here and while they are thriving, and we wanted to contribute to that thriving.”
Believe it or not, Transgender artists are only now starting to get their moment in the spotlight within the art community. It has been only in the last 20 years or so that the community has been able to publicly feature their work in mainstream museums. Some people say art shows are a step in the right direction, but there is much more work to be done for the community. The state of Ohio had its first Transgender art show display in 2015, while Tennessee just had its first Trans art show earlier this year.
Despite the importance of the event and the support that the center has shown the Trans students at CSUN, the student turnout was disheartening especially at the final event which was a vigil dedicated to a Trans Day of Remembrance.
Nevertheless, the energy and support at the Vigil was felt throughout the entire event. Mallory Jenna Robinson, a Transwoman and Advocate for the community told her story and read the names of the 46 Trans-people who died in recent years, while stressing how the number of deaths continue to climb.
“These people existed, their voices mattered, say their names,” she urged, finishing a very emotional speech followed by a moment of silence.
While the Transgender community is not new to society, the issues they face and how to best support them are something that many still need to better understand. The Pride Center’s Trans Empowerment week and National Trans Awareness week are important events that help to create change within society and are integral to making sure the community is both seen and heard.
Video credit: Alexia Mersola
Audio credit: Alexia Mersola
Audio Credit: Alexia Mersola
Photo Credit: Alexia Mersola
Video Credit: Alexia Mersola