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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility

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In the Campus Center, UMass Boston celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility. Photo by Hiroki Heginbotham (He/ Him) / Mass Media Contributor. Mass Media Staff.

Continuing the tradition of celebrating and honoring transgender stories, UMass Boston students, faculty and staff celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility March 31. The event was collaborative, where several clubs and organizations contributed in different ways. Some organizations include Undergraduate Student Government; U-Access; The Student Arts and Events Council; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department; Strong Women Strong Girls; Art for Mental Health Club; The Queer Center; and The Women’s Center. In addition, some on-campus offices collaborated, including the Office of Housing and Resident Life, the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, University Health Services, and The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Every year, March 31 is recognized as the Transgender Day of Visibility to celebrate the transgender community, raise awareness and acknowledge issues concerning the community.

Dr. Karen Ferrer-Muñiz, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, gave brief remarks. Vice Chancellor Ferrer-Muñiz said in her speech, “I would like to express my gratitude to the clubs and organizations that came together…your dedication is greatly appreciated for the sustainability of events like this, and I know for a fact that you’re very passionate individuals, and I want you to continue to transfer the passion to new students as well.”

This year’s keynote speaker at the event was MG Xiong, a UMass Boston alum and 2022 JFK Award winner. Xiong graduated from UMass Boston in 2022 and was instrumental in putting together the first-ever Transgender Day of Visibility celebration on campus.

Around one hundred students attended the event on the Campus Center Terrace. Free resources for students on how to be an ally and merchandise were distributed among students. Several attendees were asked how they felt about the event and the environment in general. Economics major Cristian Orellana said, “The atmosphere was amazing at the Transgender Day of Visibility event. Students like me were engaged in the resources provided to us about transgender community and getting to learn so much about LGBTQ+ culture as well as how to become an ally to learn further and support the transgender community.”

Danielle McShea, chair of the Campus and Community Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government, played an important role in ideating the event along with other members. According to McShea, the event was a grand success as it brought many clubs and organizations together and collaborated to assemble the whole event. “It was a great way to highlight resources for the transgender community and commemorate the day together. There have definitely been conversations to keep this event going. No matter who’s in charge or with the student turnover, it should be an established event that will happen every year. I hope USG continues to collaborate and contribute to the event one way or another,” said McShea.
Kai Livingstone, a senior double majoring in English and women’s and gender studies with a minor in anthropology, expressed that the environment of the event was joyous and affirming. Many clubs and centers came together and made the event a reality. “I think the university could put out a statement when the time comes around to acknowledge the significance of the day for trans students, and I also think that it would be nice for more people to be involved next year in planning out the physical celebration,” said Livingstone.
Livingstone also gave a special shoutout to the Undergraduate Student Government and said that the members of USG helped them spearhead the event. “[…] this would not have been possible if I tried going it alone—I may have tossed out the idea and some suggestions, but everyone else really pulled together and helped me.” Lastly, amid all the continued legislative attacks on the transgender community in the nation, Livingstone emphasized the day’s importance and said, “It is very important that we celebrate the Transgender Day of Visibility.”

About the Contributor
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor