By Mark Simpliciano
On November 19, CWSL Pride Law hosted a night to commemorate Transgender Remembrance Day (November 20) and Transgender Awareness Week (November 12-19). Transgender Awareness Week aims to raise the visibility of transgender people and address the issues trans people face.
Committed to helping make the California Western community more inclusive and tolerant, Pride Law hosted an evening event with informational boards and guest speakers who addressed the many issues transgender individuals face today and the need to respect one another.
Pride Vice-President Schaefer Whiteaker commenced the ceremony with a moment of silence to honor the beautiful lives lost for merely being themselves. He also talked about the importance of normalizing the use of announcing one’s preferred pronouns. By doing so, it will reduce the stigma transgender individuals face in a world that views gender to be only male or female.
Former Pride President Mark Simpliciano discussed the current administration’s proposed policy of defining one’s sex under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act by one’s biological sex at birth. Such policy would not only jeopardize protections of the transgender community but would eviscerate the notion of one’s right to self-identity. Simpliciano called for the LGBTQ community and its allies to come together and support our transgender brothers and sisters.
Marine veteran Adam Hymel, who has recently come out as a trans male, also spoke to the crowd and shared his touching personal experience in coming to terms with who he is and finding the strength and courage to proudly come out as transgender man. He brought words of inspiration to those who feel they cannot be who they are, by advocating to those that the need to be true to yourself is all that matters.
Professors Lisa Black and Kenneth Klein, a married couple, shared their personal experiences with raising their child, who identifies as non-binary—neither male nor female—and expressed the challenges and triumphs throughout their journey as a family. Professor Black emphasized that gender is fluid, consisting of a spectrum of identities, and that we need to honor such gender spectrum. Professor Klein talked about the journey he had with his child — learning that the love a parent has for their child is unconditional and that a box one checks to identify oneself does not matter to who they are as a person.
Lastly, current Pride President Ellen Fawcett concluded the night by thanking everyone for coming to honor the transgender lives lost and advocating the need to come together and respect diverse self-identities.