Vigil shows ‘trans lives matter’

By Allison Krecek

Students used a Wednesday remembrance night to educate others on what it means to be transgender.

At the night of remembrance, students were asked to remember transgender people who have died. Participants started with a candlelight vigil and a reading of names, and then they spoke with each other.

Sophomore pre-nursing major Emily Tudor hoped the audience could take away information about how bad discrimination is against transgender people.

“A lot of transgender people struggle with both employment and education discrimination just kind of hitting them right out of the gate before they can get a shot,” Tudor said. “Discrimination against somebody who is trans-identified hits every point of intersectionality for them, and it’s something a lot of people don’t realize.”

While Tudor and Molly Holmes, director of the LGBT and Womens Resource centers, only read off 20 names, they said there were more names they couldn’t read due to time limits.

“Trans lives matter, and I think that sometimes through the media or just other messages we get in society and the lack of understanding that message of mattering isn’t clear,” Holmes said.

PRISM president Marc Romero feels that if students were taught at a younger age what transgender identity is then discrimination might lessen.

“The earlier we start educating people the better it’s going to be because it’s hard to educate people who are already in college and set in their ways,” Romero said. “Sometimes it’s hard to branch out and reach new people, so … educating at a younger age would be much better.”

Tudor thinks education would help give students more knowledge on transgender individuals and hopefully make it less frightening to come out as transgender.

“If we started education at a younger age it would be remarkably easier to kind of help people who are being discriminated against because these people understand that this is part of life and that this is normal,” Tudor said.

Tudor, Romero and Holmes hope one day there will be no names on the list of those who have died because they are transgender. For now they encourage transgender students to stay strong and be who they are.

“The perseverance of transgender people is amazing,” Tudor said.

“The fact that these people have these obstacles thrown at them yet they are still able to live their lives as best as they can and stay true to themselves. There’s really something to be said and admired about that.”