Remembrance & advocacy

Transgender day of remembrance vigil urges action on trans issues

Students gather at a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of anti-transgender violence.
Students gather at a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of anti-transgender violence.
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More than 25 students gathered outside Grant Hall Monday evening to mark the eighth annual Trans Day of Remembrance.

Held on Nov. 20 of each year, the day is meant to commemorate those who were killed as a result of anti-transgender hate or prejudice.

David Condren, ArtSci ’07, and Tim Kraumanis, ArtSci ’09, co-chairs of the Queen’s Education on Queer Issues Project (EQUIP), served as co-coordinators for this year’s commemoration.

“When it comes to transgender issues, I don’t think Queen’s, as a whole, is that well educated,” Kraumanis said. “That’s one of the points of [Trans Day of Remembrance]--raising awareness.”

Devon Murphy, ArtSci ’09, said transgender issues don’t get a lot of visibility, which is what events like this try to improve.

“Some people have no idea that [anti-transgender violence] goes on. I really hope this leads to people understanding the violence associated with being part of the transgender community,” she said.

Nael Bhanji, ArtSci ’06, said Queen’s has policies that seek to protect trans-identified people, but there are still things that still need to be changed.

“For example, when filling out a USAT form, students must identify whether they are male or female,” he said.

Bhanji said there are also problems with the gender-neutral washroom in the JDUC.

On more than one occasion, he went to use the facility only to find that it was locked. When he asked the attendant at the AMS desk for a key he was questioned as to why he couldn’t just use another washroom.

JDUC Director Bob Burge said occasionally washrooms in the JDUC are locked if there’s a maintenance problem, adding that there is more than one gender neutral bathroom in the JDUC.

“By the end of the fall term we will have four gender-neutral, barrier free washrooms in the building,” he said. The Trans Day of Remembrance began in November, 1999 with a candlelight vigil held in San Francisco, California. The vigil was meant to honour the late Rita Hester, who had been murdered the year before. Today, the Trans Day of Remembrance is celebrated throughout the world.

Anyone wishing to learn more about trans-gender issues and events can visit the EQUIP website at clubs.myams.org/equip/ or browse the resources at the Grey House at 51 Bader Lane.

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