CWU Honors Transgender Day of Remembrance

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  • Mason Saulsbury

  • James Seth

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Stephen Martin, Staff Reporter

Students and staff gathered outside of the Brooks Library Nov. 20 for a candlelight vigil to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance: a day that memorializes those lost to anti-trans violence. The event was sponsored by Equality through Queers and Allies (EQuAl).

The gathering of around two dozen students were given electric candles and walked from the Brooks Library to the SURC pit. There was then a reading of names of those who have been killed because of transphobia this year. The floor was then open for student speakers.

EQuAl Advisor and Assistant English Professor James Seth explained the importance of the event.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance, which started officially in 1999, is a day to not only remember those who’ve been lost specifically by violence in the transgender community, but also to raise awareness of the anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bigotry that’s inspired this kind of violence,” Seth said, “and to basically ensure that everyone is aware, but also protected and part of a community.”

One of the students who spoke was Mason Saulsbury, a second-year trans woman who has been out since the start of the quarter. She came up to thank students for turning out, and later explained what the event meant to her.

“For me it was very important to have that kind of thing on campus,” Saulsbury said. “It’s nice to know that there are people out there who will remember me even if something terrible happens. I’m not gonna just be cast away. It is nice to have that kind of knowledge, that there are folks that are looking out for me.”

She also said her experience on campus as a trans woman has been primarily a positive one.

“I’ve only been out for this quarter, but I’ve had a really good experience,” Saulsbury said. “Everybody’s very accepting. I haven’t been misgendered on purpose, which is good, just some slip-ups.”

According to the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide, “2021 is set to be the deadliest year for trans and gender-diverse people since we began collecting data, with 375 registered murders between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. This represents a 7% increase from the 2020 update, which was already a 6% increase from the 2019 update. Brazil remains the country that reported the majority of the murders (125), followed by Mexico (65) and the United States (53).”