Trans Awareness Week, which falls from November 13th to the 19th, is a time dedicated to emphasizing the voices of the Transgender community, and during this time, Marlborough hosted a speaker, alum Nyala Carbado ‘14, who uses they/them pronouns and identifies as non-binary. Carbado took the opportunity to discuss their experiences with gender relating both inside and outside of Marlborough.
Carbado graduated from Marlborough then attended UCLA where they earned a B.A. in History and African American studies with a focus in Gender Studies. They now teach a U.S. History Course and tutor students at Rainbow Education Tutoring and Mentoring.
Carbado was openly non-binary at Marlborough and faced obstacles from the administration who wouldn’t let them wear pants at multiple of the school’s traditional ceremonies. They were not comfortable wearing a skirt, but the school was hard to negotiate with at the time. However, Carbado shared in their talk that they continued to advocate for themself and other students by fighting for pants to be included at graduation despite getting told no in 11th grade.
“That senior year, I’m on council, so the first things we’re talking about are the uniform for our graduation…and I basically say, last year I had this conversation and the pants were not going to be an option,” Carbado said. “I just don’t think I’m going to go to graduation if that’s the case. After a few more conversations, I started a petition that a bunch of teachers signed, which was really awesome.”
Through gaining support of students and teachers, Carbado’s petition was successful and for the first time, students were able to wear pants at graduation. Many of the students who attended the event said they were very grateful for how Carbado advocated for change in Marlborough’s treatment of the gender-queer community.
“Nyala spoke about how they helped to normalize the pants option of the uniform, especially for big events such as graduation, and their work with the administration surrounding these issues helped to make many students feel more comfortable in the community, even today,” Eva ‘25, who attended the talk, said. “I think that their work was super imperative and helped Marlborough to become a more inclusive institution”
Carbado has fought for gender rights and a more expansive understanding in many different settings. At UCLA, they were a co-chair for BlaQue (Black and Queer) and Diversity Chair of a Pre-Law Co-Ed Fraternity where they helped the fraternity become more inclusive. Carbado continues to support and help other people who are queer, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in their career .
Students expressed their excitement for getting to hear Carbado talk about themself and their experiences at Marlborough, UCLA and in life.
“Trans Awareness Week is super important for a lot of people and I think having Nyala speak was especially important because we got to hear about their many different experiences as someone who identifies as non-binary” Sofia ‘24 said.