At an event organized by Spectrum, PRISM, IC Proud and other LGBTQ clubs on campus, nonbinary and transgender individuals from Ithaca College and the surrounding community gathered in IC Square on Dec. 3 to discuss their experiences.
This event was held in light of a New York Times article that revealed a memo written by President Donald Trump’s administration. The memo proposed that the government redefine gender as solely one’s sex assigned at birth. The leaders of the student organizations on campus responsible for organizing the event came together after discovering the memo and voiced their frustration at the media coverage surrounding it. The reporting of the memo when it first came out largely surrounded cisgender people, so the event was created for transgender and nonbinary people to have the opportunity to speak about the memo and how it affects them.
In-depth, authentic discussions are needed to fully comprehend the memo and transgender people’s place in a country under the Trump administration. Discussions about the LGBTQ community, held and driven by the LGBTQ community, are the only way to accurately hear about these issues and receive the full picture. By providing a platform for transgender and nonbinary people to speak out about these issues, the involved student organizations are providing the opportunity for cisgender members of our community to educate themselves rather than speak over their transgender and nonbinary peers. The silencing and erasure of transgender and nonbinary people regarding issues that concern them are frequent, and even our relatively liberal campus has not be spared from this epidemic.
Outside of the liberal bubble of our campus and surrounding community, transgender and nonbinary people are faced with consistent disenfranchisement from the Trump administration and American society as a whole. These are difficult times for transgender, nonbinary and LGBTQ people as a whole, a fact that the campus community should recognize.
Spectrum, PRISM, IC Proud and the other organizations involved should be commended for the work they put into hosting and organizing this event. It is also important to highlight the speakers’ bravery; speaking out during this time of uncertainty and exclusion must require an immense amount of courage. In light of the frightening policies proposed by the Trump administration, it is now more important than ever to unabashedly support our nonbinary and transgender communities. Events such as the one held Dec. 3 allow space for the nuanced and in-depth conversations that need to be had with communities on campus during these times.