Signs placed in the snow greeted students passing through Norlin quad.
“This is [for] the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is celebrated on Nov. 20,” said 23-year-old junior studio arts major Jason Palo La Costa.
Palo La Costa, active in several student groups including the GLBT Resource Center, was among those at a table near the display, ready to explain the memorial and its purpose. Palo La Costa said the memorial will be up Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated in memory of Rita Hester, who was murdered on Nov. 28, 1998, according to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Web site.
Davian Gagne, the gender violence prevention and education coordinator at CU, said the memorial is sponsored by a number of groups at CU. These include the GLBT Resource Center, Queer Initiative, Queer People of Color, the Gender Violence Prevention Taskforce, the Chancellor’s Standing Committee on LGBT Affairs, the Transgender/Genderqueer Task Force, the Women’s Resource Center and Gather/Transform, a transgender student group at CU.
Along with the table, the exhibit included 12 signs placed along a path by Norlin quad. These signs had statistics about discrimination against the GLBT community written on them, as well as the names and pictures of people who were murdered because they were transgender.
Maria Genao-Homs, a CU alumna and outreach coordinator at the GLBT Resource Center, explained the presence of the signs.
“We pulled about 12 names and these are some of the more well-known cases,” Genao-Homs said. “We wanted to start off with names of people that are more well-remembered.”
Among the names were those of Angie Zapata, a transgender woman who was murdered in Greeley in 2008 and whose alleged killer went on trial earlier this year.
Those working at the memorial said they were also concerned with the status of transgender individuals on CU’s campus.
Gagne said that although the campus had protections for “sexual orientation,” CU “[does] not have gender-identity as a protective class.” This could change soon.
“The regents are looking at including gender identity in one of their protective classes and they’re voting on that in February,” Gagne said.
Gagne said message of the Transgender Day of Remembrance goes beyond gender.
“[The purpose] is just to connect, not only is it like a tragic murder but not only are they transgender, but they’re also daughters and mothers, family members…They’re people,” Gagne said.
Contact CU Independent News Editor Sam Dieter at Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.