LGBTQ rights activists take the stage to spread awareness
By Brandy Bond, Staff Writer
Transgender day of remembrance was held on Monday November 20th in hopes to spread awareness and pay respects to trans gender individuals who have passed due to violence and brutality. The event was organized by Lakehead’s Pride centre with the help of the president of The Artery, McKenna Boeckner. Together, both the LUSU Pride Centre and The Artery held two impactful events that brought together a diverse group of people.
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon of the 20th, LUSU’s Pride Centre and The Artery set up a large banner in the Agora for students and faculty to contribute to and to pay their respects. The banner was a huge success and attracted the attention from those who were passing by. Many individuals stopped by to contribute what they could, whether they drew a small picture, wrote an inspirational message, or even just showed support by taking a “challenge transphobia” button.
One of the event’s volunteers was from the GTA, who happened to be in Thunder Bay for an unrelated event, but decided that it was important for him to find the closest transgender awareness day event near him to pay his respects. Throughout the day he sat by the banner and gave a warm welcome to anyone who approached the table. With the help of event volunteers, the event was able to attract a diverse group, including local and international students, as well as students who may or may not identify with the LGBTQ community, and bring the issue of trans-violence to their attention. By the end of the afternoon, the banner was covered in messages from a variety of different languages as well as drawings that portrayed the diversity of Lakehead. It was clear that the event had made a large impact on the student community just by looking at the banner along with the various messages of gratitude the organizers had received from many of the students.
The same evening, the Pride Centre and The Artery set up their second event of the day at PACI. The event kicked off at 7 pm and many people from the both the student community as well as the greater Thunder Bay community attended. The event featured students from Lakehead as well as other trans rights activists from the city. All of the individuals that took the stage, spoke or preformed poems, which exemplified various experiences that related to the event of trans gender day of remembrance. However, the two pieces of poetry that really stood out throughout the evening were by Liz Ward and McKenna Boeckner. Both pieces, though short in length, were definitely the most moving pieces presented that night and really resonated with the crowd. Throughout both Liz’s and Boeckner’s performance, it was evident from the way the crowd smiled or nodded their heads, that the poems had made a true impact and really spoke to what the event was about.
After the performances were over, Equality Rocks, a band that promotes inclusivity, preformed a few of their songs to conclude the performance segment of the evening. The main portion of the event was the moment of silence for all of the trans individuals who had passed, and though it was saddening, it was also the most important part of that whole day. Many of those who attended the event, including myself, were extremely moved and it was a reminder that there is still much work to be done in order to create a more inclusive world. However, it is events such as these which embody a step in the right direction.