SAGE Center honors trans murder victims
J’Mari Hughes – Reporter
To commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, members of the Sexuality and Gender Equality center created posters to be displayed in a variety of places on campus featuring photos, biographies and positive comments of transgender people who have been killed.
2018 has been the deadliest year for transgender individuals surpassing the already high enough amount of trans people that were murdered in the previous year, according to Mary Fitzgerald of the SAGE Center, an organization on campus dedicated to being a resource to LGBTQIA+ students.
“We want to show people that it’s 2018 and this stuff is still happening so it’s really prevalent,” said the graduate student. “There’s a lot of fear and anxiety out there and everyone needs to be aware of that.”
Transgender Awareness Week is an observance that recognizes victims of transphobic violence.
Typically the second week of November, this occasion leads up to a day of remembrance, which the SAGE Center held Wednesday, Nov. 14 outside of Buley Library.
Gigi Pierce, described as “vivacious and enthusiastic,” Diamond Stephens, with an, “incredible personality,” and Cathalina Christina James, a dancer and a traveler, were all black women whom were fatally shot. Fitzgerald said that this demographic are more likely to experience violence.
“It’s disgusting,” said Hale Muncey. “In many states, even now, it’s technically legal to kill a trans person if you are shocked by finding out that they’re trans. You can completely get away with it.”
Muncey, who identifies as they/them, said that when trans people are killed, it is not a coincidence as if they were killed in an accident; they were killed simply because they were transgender and a transphobic person decided to take their life away.
“The fact that people are being killed for embracing their own identity is horrifying and they deserve to be remembered,” Muncey said.
SAGE member Miranda Favre said trans murder victims are not acknowledged well enough in the news.
Their faces are barely ever shown, she said, so people hardly know this is happening. Showing the posters around campus opens students’ eyes to the unfortunate truth Favre said.
“You go to school and see 24 people [who were killed] right in front of you and you never even knew they were murdered,” said Favre, “but they were.”
Fitzgerald said the current presidential administration’s attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community leave them scared and worried. She said a memo was recently released aiming to change the legal definition of gender, defining it as being part of one’s biological sex.
“That is not what gender means and it’s just an attack on the trans community and an attempt to erase their civil rights,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald, Muncey and Favre agreed that people should work together and become better advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community. Favre said that transgender people should be treated “like people.”
“That’d be awesome,” she said.
Photo Credit: J’Mari Hughes