Two of the club’s three co-presidents, Rebecca ’17 and Alden ’17, introduced a video highlighting statistics regarding transgender people, and following the ASM, the club hosted a discussion during lunch about the presentation.
“We want to shed light on the not so glamorous side of this issue. Many transgenders’ experiences are very different from Caitlyn Jenner’s,” Rebecca said in the presentation.
According to Alliance, transpeople in college face discrimination as many are barred from their desired gender college dorms or are denied the right to be called by their preferred names. In addition, The military forbids transpeople to serve in its ranks, and the U.S. has no current federal legislation that bans discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Alden added that Alliance wants to make sure the Marlborough community understands how to treat trans-people.
“You might never understand someone’s identity or experience being who they are, and that’s okay. It’s just important to…respect them,” Alden said.
After exploring possible topics, the Alliance ultimately decided to focus on transgenderism after the recent surge in violence against trans-women of color. According to Alden, violence against transpeople has been an issue since 2011, but in 2015 there have been multiple national news stories of murders of colored transwomen. She added that it is important to acknowledge that being a transman of color is different from being a transman who is white, as racial profiling comes into play.
Just in 2015, 21 transgender Americans have been killed in hate crimes. Transpeople are 1.7 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault and are also ten times more likely to consider suicide than cis-people. According to glaad.org, in 2013, 45% of LGBT hate crime victims were transwomen of color.
Miranda ’17 appreciated the ASM and the impact of Alliance on campus.
“I think it was very informing. It’s good to have students be aware of the issue, and I feel fortunate that we are living in Los Angeles where there’s a lot of diversity. In other places, they might be ignorant [of transpeople],” Miranda said.
After Alliance first proposed their ASM idea to the diversity committee, Upper School Director Laura Hotchkiss and senior administrators reached out. The senior administration team is currently gathering research and speaking to other independent schools about the issue of transgenderism.
Looking to the rest of the school year, Alliance hopes to educate and inform the School further about topics such as transgenderism.