The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Gay-Straight Alliance raises awareness through Transgender Day of Remembrance

One of the posters for Transgender Day of Remembrance hangs in the freshman wing. The posters detailed different stories of transphobic hate crimes.
One of the posters for Transgender Day of Remembrance hangs in the freshman wing. The posters detailed different stories of transphobic hate crimes.
Freshman Tarynn Campbell and senior Meg Fernandez hang up one of the posters for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The posters helped raise awareness about transgender issues.
Freshman Tarynn Campbell and senior Meg Fernandez hang up one of the posters for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The posters helped raise awareness about transgender issues.

As part of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) placed posters detailing transphobic hate crimes in order to bring awareness to the continued violence endured by the transgender community. This event helped encourage discussion over transgender issues. The day was one of the three anti-bias activities used as part of Westwood’s No Place for Hate initiative, a designation the school has earned for six consecutive years.

“Most people I talked to were thoughtful about transgender issues. However, I also experienced opposition where I didn’t before,” said senior Colin Etherington. “Thankfully, nothing escalated, but I was reminded that you have to keep on showing support even when you encounter naysayers.”

To raise awareness of this issue, the GSA hung posters with chalk outlines of transgender victims of hate crimes, evoking images of crime scenes. Written on the chalk outlines were details of each victims’ death. A few posters were also placed on reflective surfaces in order to reflect viewers’ images back to themselves, encouraging viewers to place themselves in the victims’ situations.

“The posters show people being brave for coming out as transgender,” said sophomore Bree Maddox. “Even though they suffered, it really shows their bravery.”

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Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity, or self-identification as woman, man, neither or both, not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female, or intersex based on physical sex). Many gender non-conforming individuals continue to face bias and harassment in the public sphere, facing severe barriers in the workplace, healthcare, and more. Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts, and bring attention to transphobic hate crimes.

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