QSU panel shines light on Transgender Awareness Day

Suffolk University’s Queer Student Union (QSU) E-Board discussed the need for trans inclusivity on campus and across the country at a Trans Day of Visibility panel Monday night.

QSU President Sabrina Liu said the organization had to adapt to new challenges  in order to put on the event during a pandemic.

“It’s really been a learning curve for all [of] us, but we really appreciate the experience that we’ve been through,” said Liu, though they acknowledged the toll that Zoom and the pandemic can have on mental health and motivation.

With many students taking classes from home this semester, transgender individuals can be confronted with hostile home environments that can inhibit learning. This includes being forced back into the closet, violence and unacceptance from family, QSU’s E-Board said. 

Liu emphasized that QSU aims to provide a safe space for anyone within the LGBTQ+ community. 

The E-Board discussed Suffolk’s use and encouragement of pronouns, and that students and faculty alike should continue and improve this to foster a more welcoming environment.

Dani Webber, vice president of QSU and news editor at The Suffolk Journal, said at the event that oftentimes when a trans person is the only individual to introduce themselves with their pronouns, it can make them feel displaced or othered. 

“It singles out the individual so they have to announce [their identity] to everyone,” said Webber, recounting their own experience. “I felt like I was almost immediately an outsider.”

The E-board encouraged the Suffolk community to utilize pronouns in their introductions as a way to make it a more casual and normalized way of communicating, and to promote inclusivity on campus.

The E-board also discussed the fundamental role QSU played in getting gender inclusive bathrooms throughout campus, which they hope to expand to residence halls in the future.

Liu said that standing in solidarity with the transgender community can be anything from getting involved with QSU, educating yourself and exposing yourself to new information and perspectives. She added that giving trans individuals a spotlight can promote education for everyone.

Next semester, QSU is hoping to collaborate with other Queer Student Unions in Boston.

QSU’s meetings and events aim to not only educate and spread awareness about issues regarding the LGBTQ+ community, but also celebrate the community and its diversity. They hope to give students resources to feel safe and validated on and off campus.

QSU meets every Monday at 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. 

Follow QSU on Instagram and Twitter @SuffolkQSU.

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