My Remarks from the 2022 Trans Awareness Month Kickoff at TMU
November 3, 2022
Michael Turco and I are the co-chairs of the Positive Space Faculty & Staff Network, a volunteer-based community network for staff and faculty of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. Our mandate is to create and maintain a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment, and we do that through events like this one.
We have in-person, virtual, and asynchronous programming that you’ll hear about today, where you can learn about, celebrate, honour and raise the visibility of the trans community during the month of November.
Positive Space has been recognizing Trans Awareness Month at Toronto Metropolitan University for many years, as an opportunity to bring the community together, honouring champions of the trans community and remembering those we have lost to transphobia, bigotry, violence and intersecting oppressive forces. Despite the increasing visibility of trans and non-binary members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, their human rights and safety are still under threat — e.g. politicians who wish to erase trans people from school curricula, authors/speakers who challenge that trans people are experts in their own experience, and everyday people who intimidate trans and nonbinary people participating in society as their authentic selves. We can and must continue to fiercely advocate for trans and non-binary folks in our community.
I’m in the process of finishing reading Ivan Coyote’s “Care Of” (2021) and came across a quote that jumped out at me for Trans Awareness Month in particular:
“This world is full of far too many people who actively work to make life difficult for trans people, and there are even those who would disappear us if they could. But there will never be enough of them to do that. They can never will us, or deny us, or legislate us, out of existence. We are here, as we always have been.” (p.94)
Today our speakers include: Dr. Art Blake (Professor, Department of History, and Dimensions Director), Dr. Anver Saloojee (Interim Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion), Dr. Pam Sugiman (Dean, Faculty of Arts) and Leandra Budau (2SLGBTQ+ Mentoring Lead for the Tri-Mentoring Program).