Transgender Day of Visibility

Dear UIC community,

The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer People will celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility March 31. The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the work that is still needed for trans equality.

This year, we honor the life and contributions of UIC alumna Elise Malary, who was a Black transgender woman and fierce advocate for LGBTQIA+ equality. A much-loved member of our community, Malary’s life was tragically cut short last March. Malary was a founding board member of the Chicago Therapy Collective and participated in UIC’s Lavender Graduation in 2016. She also interned for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and worked as a communications associate for Equality Illinois. The Chancellor’s Committee is currently working with Malary’s family to name a scholarship in her honor.

One of the first steps toward progress is to bring awareness. The word “transgender” – or trans – is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth. Our committee stresses the importance of using a trans person’s correct identity, name and pronouns. This is a required minimum way to respect trans people and work toward creating an environment that values inclusion. Not using a trans person’s name or pronouns is another form of disrespect against transgender people. If you encounter someone not using a trans person’s name or pronouns, check in with the trans person, disrupt communication and speak up.

Our trans community deserves care and support, now more than ever. In the last few years states have advanced a record number of bills that attack LGBTQIA+ rights, especially transgender youth. The ACLU is currently tracking 430 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the United States. These bills attempt to undermine and weaken nondiscrimination laws by allowing employers, businesses and hospitals to turn away LGBTQ+ people. Many of these bills are anti-transgender legislation. Therefore, we need all UIC employees and students to make space for trans students, staff and faculty on campus as well as the greater Chicago area. Supporting trans folks includes fighting against racism, ableism, xenophobia and misogyny in all their forms.

We are committed to working toward making space such that transgender people at UIC feel included. If you are trans and a member of the UIC community, the following resources are available to you:

The Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) provides crisis and non-crisis peer-support services for people who are transgender, nonbinary and questioning their gender identity.

Thank you,
Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer People

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