Stanford Students for Queer Liberation kicks off Transgender Awareness Week

April 7, 2015, 10:53 p.m.
(ANDREA LIM/The Stanford Daily).
Stanford Students for Queer Liberation is hosting Transgender Awareness Week (ANDREA LIM/The Stanford Daily).

Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL) kicked off its annual Transgender Awareness Week on Monday with an inclusive language workshop and a keynote panel with the TGI Justice Project, a San Francisco-based organization that supports and provides services for transgender women of color who are currently or have been incarcerated.

At the inclusive language workshop, which over 50 people attended, a panel of five students addressed issues such as gender-neutral pronouns and the differences between biological sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They also modeled how to introduce gender-neutral language in different situations.

“I think we started a conversation that hopefully people will continue through this week and hopefully take with them through their lives,” said Lily Zheng ’17, one of the panelists and a columnist for The Daily.

SSQL members worked in conjunction with a variety of other on- and off-campus organizations to plan various events for this year’s Transgender Awareness Week. Last night, game designer Mattie Brice spoke about the DIY (“Do It Yourself”) game movement and how trans women have participated in it.

Before the event, SSQL president Nadia Stoufflet ’16 said they hope highlight overlaps between the trans community and tech communities.

“The week as a whole is really aimed at outreach to the Stanford population — undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff — basically everyone who has a stake in thinking about trans life and trans identity,” Stoufflet said. “Which is everyone, because at some point in your life you’re going to come in contact with someone who is either transgender or gender non-conforming, if you are not yourself.”

On Wednesday at noon, an event called “Smash the Cis-Tem” will highlight transgender and disability issues, and at 7 p.m. SSQL will hold a round-table discussion on presentation – how people present their gender identity on the outside. Thursday, a “Safe and Open Spaces at Stanford” panel will discuss trans life at Stanford, and a dinner event called “Fetishization Nation” will address how the media portrays trans people and how to navigate relationships with them.

“Often when we interact with a trans person we think of all these associations from the media — how TV portrays them and how porn portrays them,” said Zheng, who organized tomorrow night’s event. “Dating is really hard. This event helps dispel some of the misconceptions and portray trans people as people, not as sex objects.”

On Friday, there will be a screening of “Kumu Hina,” a film about a native Hawaiian transgender teacher.

According to SSQL members, the events of the week are particularly aimed at introducing discussions of trans identity and issues to people who aren’t familiar with them. Stoufflet said that often, the majority of people who come to queer student organizations’ events are people already involved in other political or social causes, but at the inclusive language workshop, there were many people they’d never seen before.

“I think we drew a lot of people who might not have had a lot of experience with transgender people or discussions on trans identity, which is exactly the population we were hoping to reach,” Zheng said.


Contact Emma Johanningsmeier at ejmeier ‘at’

In a previous version of this article, The Daily attributed the wrong gender pronoun to one of the panelists. We regret this error. 

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