Campus groups organize for Trans November
By Dominic Giardini
The Bridge, Colby’s LGBTQAI+ and ally organization has planned and held multiple gatherings for Trans November, a month dedicated to celebrating the trans community as well as commemorating transgender victims of hate crimes.
On Nov. 8, The Bridge held the “We’re Still Here” event, a three-hour long discussion with members of the Colby trans community, according to the group’s Facebook page. This coming Thursday, Nov. 15, the Bridge will also be holding a Trans Narrative mic night at Mary Low Coffee House. The Bridge has also helped sponsor a 20 minute moment of silence in honor of transgender victims of violence. The moment of silence will occur on Transgender Day of Remembrance, Nov. 20, in the Pugh Center.
Colby Queer/Trans People of Color (QTPOC) has similarly sponsored a #WeWontBeErased poster campaign.
QTPOC, while associated with the Bridge, is a separate entity entirely. The group strives to provide openness and allyship for the discussion of sexuality and identity, particularly for Queer and Trans identifying people of color. Their recent campaign, according to a recent QTPOC post on ColbyNow, “focuses on highlighting the experiences of trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people on campus by posting short narratives at the sites where students, faculty, and staff have experienced discrimination.”
The collection of statements include serious and upsetting experiences students have had on Colby’s campus, ranging from feelings of isolation and depression to acts of outright violence. They are submitted and printed anonymously, for the sake of those sharing.
“Someone once threw a full bottle of beer at me from a second-floor Heights window while I was walking home. It missed me, so I just kept walking,” one anonymous poster says.
On Nov. 14, Colby’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will hold a “Trans Rights and Resources Panel,” at 7:00 p.m. in the Pugh Center. The panel is intended to focus on issues of trans identity beyond Colby, allowing students “to learn about how proposed changes to federal language and policy may affect trans and gender nonbinary people and how local resources… are working to ensure continued support and protection.” Community members from Waterville and Portland will be in attendance to address “the state of trans rights in the current political climate.”
The Trans Resource Center, an organization on campus that aims to increase access for trans students, is available year-round. In a recent email to the Echo, TRC head E. Hopf ’19 explained that their goal for accessibility does not end with “physical access, like the forty gender neutral restrooms that we now have on campus,” but that “it also includes things like forms and school documents, because constantly being deadnamed by everyone is invalidating and emotionally exhausting.” They went on to describe how difficult the navigation process is for trans-folk at Colby, especially for First-years.
“Of course, this campus is nowhere near perfect on any of these issues, but we (that is, the older/not first year trans folk, although this statement isn’t even necessarily true) have learned to navigate them. Unfortunately, that navigation largely passes through word-of-mouth, since we don’t really have the structures in place to help folks, so if you’re struggling (or even if you’re not), reach out to the TRC on our Facebook page, or reach out to me, and we’ll do our best to help you make it through.”