Trans Day of Visibility on March 31 is about more than raising awareness of the challenges faced by the transgender community. Created in 2009 by trans activist Rachel Crandall-Crocker, Trans Day of Visibility is about celebrating the community’s resilience, beauty and societal contributions.
To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility on campus, the University of Colorado Boulder’s Pride Office will host an LGBTQ+ Art and Poetry Showcase via Zoom at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. The showcase will be an opportunity for queer, trans and ally students to celebrate and build connections with the LGBTQ+ community at CU Boulder.
“(We’re) trying to build a sense of community, even in the virtual space that we have to operate in,” said Alex Dutro-Maeda, assistant director for the Pride Office. “(We want to) give folks a chance to come together to hear the voices and see the faces of other people in the queer/trans community, as well as flex their unique, queer creative skills.”
Often LGBTQ+ events on campus are focused on raising awareness. Creating a more inclusive community often requires having difficult conversations about homophobia and transphobia and how to stay mentally healthy in a world that in many cases doesn’t validate their existence.
For the showcase, the Pride Office also hopes to raise awareness, yet they also want to create a much-needed space for celebration and empowerment. Providing an opportunity for queer students to embrace their identity in a positive way can help them find their voice and feel more comfortable in the CU Boulder community.
“I don’t think our community gets to celebrate as much as it might need to,” Dutro-Maeda said. “(Campus-based inclusion) can’t always be focused on negativity and problems. We also have to balance that with finding a space to celebrate who we are.”
As a CU Boulder alum, Dutro-Maeda is familiar with finding a voice beyond the LGBTQ+ community as a queer student. Though she found an accepting group inside the LGBTQ+ community, she struggled to feel validated and seen by the wider CU Boulder community — an experience she feels many queer students on campus can connect with. Now Dutro-Maeda hopes to foster more campus inclusivity with her work at the Pride Office.
“Within our community students felt like they had a voice and could make a difference, but I don’t know that it reached very far beyond that,” Dutro-Maeda said. “Our goal (at the Pride Office) is to create a more inclusive campus environment and experience for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.“
By scheduling the event for Trans Day of Visibility, the Pride Office also hopes to make transgender students feel included. Even in LGBTQ+ specific inclusion events, the trans community can be overlooked, and the Pride Office wants to ensure this doesn’t happen. After all, visibility isn’t only about acknowledging trans students — it is about empowerment through celebration.
“I think having something specific like Trans Day of Visibility is important because we can say, ‘We are uplifting you, we see you, and we are celebrating you,’” Dutro-Maeda said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Marion Walmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.