Gender, Sexuality Resource Center honors trangender students

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Molly Holmes, director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center emphasized the importance of learning about and supporting trans identities and the experiences of trans people as a part of the NIU community. 

Jack Strunk, News Reporter

DeKALB — NIU’s TransAction Task force paired with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center Monday and Tuesday to host their “Give us our roses while we’re still here” gallery in honor of Trans Day of Remembrance. 

Trans Day of Remembrance is an annual holiday to honor the lives lost to anti-trans violence. This year, NIU hosted “Give us our roses while we’re still here” to honor the voices of transgender students who are still alive to share them. 

Molly Holmes, director of the GSRC, explained the choice to use a gallery to celebrate trans voices. 

“They wanted to be able to express and demonstrate their experiences in a way that more individuals could view it and perhaps receive some insight into their experiences at NIU,” Holmes said.

The gallery featured five paintings and three poems from transgender students and allies, most of whom remained anonymous.

“This is a digital drawing of my post-op body with flowers growing out of my scars,” the anonymous artist of “Own Your Gender” wrote in his artist statement. “It is a representation of the gendered ways my body exists in the world.”

Other artists offered encouraging words to trans students and other members of the LGBTQ+ community who viewed their art.

“To my fellow queer folk, you are never too much,” an anonymous poet wrote in their artist statement. “You are beautiful, inspiring, courageous, resilient, and you deserve unconditional love.”

The gallery ended with a board and sticky notes for students to leave anonymous encouraging notes on to further show their support of the trans community. 

Holmes encouraged students who viewed the gallery to continue to educate themselves about trans identities and experiences. 

“I think that there are a lot of different things that peers and faculty and staff can do at NIU and beyond to support trans individuals,” Holmes said. “One of the components of that is to continue to take advantage of opportunities to educate themselves about trans identities.”

Holmes also reminded students not to hold trans people responsible for educating others about trans identities and experiences. 

“Trans experiences are not a monolith,” Holmes said. “A trans person doesn’t owe anyone to define terms about themselves or the general trans experience.”

Holmes emphasized the importance of learning about and supporting trans identities and the experiences of trans people as a part of the NIU community. 

“It starts with education and it continues with compassion and a genuine desire to be a part of a Huskie community where we support each other,” Holmes said.