Trans* Awareness week kicks off at Laurier
For the second year in a row, Wilfrid Laurier University is celebrating Trans* Awareness Week. Wilfrid Laurier University’s Rainbow Centre and the Centre for Women and TransPeople* is hosting events throughout this week in order to promote positive and open attitudes towards the trans* community.
“Being trans* is about the way you identify on the inside,” explained Rainbow Centre co-ordinator Chris Owen. “Your gender doesn’t necessarily align with what you’ve been assigned at birth.”
The week focuses on emphasizing gender as a social construct rather than a static physical identity, encouraging positive language and rejecting binary assumptions of gender.“You might not necessarily identify as a man or a woman,” Owen said.
“You could identify as both, or neither. You could go back and forth day by day, and that’s okay.”
Steve Barrow, events and discussion co-ordinator for Rainbow Centre, felt that last year’s events attracted a responsive crowd, but was excited for the Rainbow Centre to revamp the week. “But it’s still all about the same thing — educating the community on trans issues and diversity,” added Barrow.
An info fair will be hosted in the senate and board chamber today, Nov. 16, to offer students some basic knowledge on trans issues. On Thursday, a trans workshop will be hosted in the Mac House lounge, and a speak-out will be hosted in the grad lounge this Friday, Nov.18.
Though last year’s drag race and show drew an enthusiastic crowd of Laurier students, the Rainbow Centre has made the decision to host this year’s event next Friday, Nov. 25 in order to establish it as an event separate from Trans* Awareness Week. “They’re two separate campaigns, so the drag show is next weekend,” Barrow explained.
Because Trans* Awareness Week focuses on education, volunteers wanted to ensure that students understood the difference between transpeople and drag artists.
“Last year, the drag show was part of Trans* Awareness Week because we thought it would bring people in,” Owen explained. “However, it became a concern because drag performers aren’t trans. A drag performer is someone who—usually, not always — identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth who simply dresses in drag and performs as the opposite sex.”
Volunteers from both groups have been expecting an enthusiastic turnout.