Pride Student Union at the University of Florida celebrates their trans members.
Trans Awareness Week, from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20, is a collection of talks, informational meetings and events all focused around the trans community.
Ellie Gaustria, a 22-year-old UF nursing junior, is a transwoman of color and the president of Queer People of Color United.
“A lot of times in LGBT+ spaces, the ‘T’ can get dropped,” she said. “This week is really all about us.”
Today at 6 p.m. a trans resource fair will take place at the MCDA Rainbow Suite, where trans people can learn things such as how to change their name in Florida and healthcare.
On Wednesday, there will be a ‘Transfinite’ panel where students will speak about racism, transphobia and the intersections in their lives, Gaustria said.
All of the events, unless otherwise noted, are also open to non-trans identifying people to educated the community on trans people.
“For a lot of people who aren’t trans identified, this may be one of the first times they’re kind of exposed to trans people,” Gaustria said.
She said a lot of non-trans identifying people are surprised to learn the high percentage of murders of trans women of color.
“You’re being oppressed for your skin color, and then you’re being oppressed again for being trans identified,” she said.
But to be an ally of trans people, Gaustria said to just listen to the trans people you know and understand each person may have different struggles. And if someone sees a trans person being harassed or assaulted, other people should step in or at least report the incident.
Even doing as much as going to the bathrooms with trans people when they may feel threatened, can be a lot of help, she said.
For trans people who are going through the transition, Gaustria said it’s tough, and it gets worse before it gets better.
There is an assumption that life will be much better after transitioning, but this isn’t always true, she said. However, Gaustria is happier now that she has transitioned.
“Allowing yourself that comfortability and allowing yourself to be that happy, I think is really beautiful and really important,” she said.