Pride has been flowing from SMC 111 this week, and it’s not slowing down.
The Trans Week of Visibility is a week full of events and discussions intended to educate Millersville about the transgender identity. Throughout the week, there will be social mixers, pride flag paintings, and showings of educational movies and discussions on the topic.
The whole week is leading up to the International Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, where there will be a celebration and clothing drive for students who want to wear clothes that match their gender identity and expression.
The week started on Monday with a transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming social mixer, where students of these groups were encouraged to come together as a community. On Tuesday, an “ask me” and trans flag painting event was held in the SMC Atrium.
The room was filled with round tables covered in blank canvases and paint supplies, with transgender identity flags draped on the walls and tables. The atmosphere in the room was full of laughter and community, and students walking to and from the galley stopped by and put their handprints on a large trans pride flag.
Levi Moyer and Monica Rush, both students at Millersville, were sitting at the same round table, making jokes and laughing. As they were painting their flags, Levi exclaimed “I love this. I’m having so much fun right now.”
But along with the stress-free painting, students were having serious conversations. Levi started a conversation about the gender pay gap, and a little while later the topic turned to the movie Black Panther and about representation of black people in films.
The Director of the Intercultural Center, Jasmine Whitlow, was at the event overseeing everything, as well as painting a gender non-binary pride flag with students. The Intercultural Center is in charge of planning the events for the Trans Week of Visibility.
“People are here, and that’s all that matters. They’re getting educated,” Whitlow said as she surveyed the room full of students. To Jasmine, that is what this week is about: education.
“It’s about bringing attention and awareness to the transgender identity. You have to blend affirmation with education,” Whitlow said at the event. She went on to say that the Trans Week of Visibility is about affirming the identities of trans students, but then educating the general student population on the transgender identity and the use of proper pronouns.
“It’s also a celebration of the preferred name policy being officially approved,” she said about the spirit of the week. The preferred name policy is a way for students to use their preferred name on official school documents, their student IDs, and class rosters. The new policy is implemented so that students can fill out a form through the MyVille portal as opposed to having to go through a lengthy and awkward process at the Registrar’s Office.
The rest of the Trans Week of Visibility will be filled with different film screenings and “talk backs” where students can discuss important issues around the transgender identity. All the events will be held in SMC 111 from 12-4 p.m. for the main events, and all film screenings will start at 6 p.m.
Whitlow said that this week’s goal is to “show that trans people exist, and to show how they identify.”