As a cisgender woman, I cannot speak for the experiences of transgender people, but I can be an ally, and I can listen. The upcoming workshop “Creating a Transgender-Affirmative Campus: Pronouns, Bathrooms, and Beyond” provides the opportunity to support transgender people in our community by learning our roles in supporting a transgender-affirmative campus. I asked Alexis Weiss (she/they), a co-presenter of the workshop, for insight into what to expect, how to move forward when someone lacks understanding, and tools to inform ourselves.
Weiss (she/they), reference and instruction librarian for Theology at the William H. Hannon Library, describes what the LMU community can gain from joining the “Creating a Transgender-Affirmative Campus: Pronouns, Bathrooms, and Beyond” workshop on Jan. 19, 2022, at 2 p.m. PST.
Weiss writes: “First, I think they should take away a greater sense of understanding changing terminology. Language changes and as trans people become a common part of everyday life it is important to understand how our words can have an impact. Second, I hope they will better understand the trans experience: What we commonly go through in transition (though all transitions are different), the obstacles, stigmas, and prejudices we face in our daily lives, and the impact that these have on our lives and well-being. Finally, I hope they will walk away with some tools to consider in how they approach and work with trans colleagues and students and how they might play a part in creating a more trans-inclusive community.
“I think that when someone lacks understanding, but genuinely wants to understand, it is up to all of us to do what we do best: to educate and to converse with compassion and patience. Many people simply lack understanding about the lived realities of transgender people and offering people the ability to learn and grow, to become allies and coconspirators rather than antagonists, is essential.
“Looking beyond this workshop, there is so much information out there: books, documentaries, information online, academic writing. I will also shamelessly plug the Hannon Library’s upcoming DEIA LibGuide that has an entire page on anti-transmisia full of sources (here’s a peek: https://libguides.lmu.edu/DEIA/Anti-Transmisia). Seek it out, but seek it from the voices and experiences of actual trans people rather than let others speak for us. Then, maybe volunteer, become an advocate, work side by side with trans people to create a more inclusive space for all – learn by doing.”
By Linda Rivera (she/her), Administrative Specialist for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion