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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

other exciting news: trans happenings, part 1

I mentioned a while back that issues of transgenderism would be big this year. Well, this week is a big week. On Monday night, members of the Harvard Trans Task Force (TTF) led a workshop on supporting and honoring the trans members of our community. But the workshop audience wasn’t just your typical BGLTSA crowd. The event took place immediately preceding a UC town hall meeting, and UC President John Haddock laudably sent out some emails to UC representatives encouraging them to attend the TTF workshop: (more in expanded post)
Mischa Feldstein and the BGLTSA have kindly offered to give the UC a special session "Trans Training 101" on Monday before our meeting. This is not a required activity, though I would encourage as many of you as possible to attend. I'm posting below some information about the session:
Trans 101: This is an excellent opportunity to hear Michael Greenspan, a knowledgeable transgender activist, talk about what it means to be transgender and how trans issues have shaped his life and can/do shape the lives of the students you represent. Transgender students at Harvard face a unique set of challenges, and this is a valuable chance to learn about those challenges and how we as community members and leaders can effect positive change. This training assumes only that you enter with an open mind.
Mischa emailed me and some others with some more information about the training--it sounded really wonderful; I was bummed I couldn't go:
This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a relatively invisible minority here on campus. As leaders of campus organizations, all of you face the difficult task of serving the interests of the student body, yet there persists a general lack of knowledge and understanding of the needs and challenges specific to transgender communities on campus - communities that intersect with many of those that your organizations represent. The training will go over the basics - from what transgender means to a discussion of what it is like to be transgender at college.

Given the kind of heated controversy that often surrounds topics of queerness in the mainstream (not that queerness in queer-supportive communities and/or academia doesn’t have its share of pitched battles, too), isn’t it a little curious that John’s endorsement of this workshop training elicited not so much as a peep of protest? I cautiously take it as a good sign, but in all likelihood the silence is due to apathy, not assent.

Well, the Trans Task Force has a lot more exciting events in the works for this year, so the current silence won't last. I know I'm really excited for the potential for some intense dialogue...

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