Alliance, a Valpo student organization, has been focused on raising support for Transgender Awareness Week which took place Nov. 8-14 and coincided with the Intersex Day of Solidarity on Nov. 8.
“All we can do is help promote it, help people learn more about it, make it more normalized,” said Kaelyn Veselsky, Alliance Treasurer.
Alliance is mainly focused on bringing awareness to the week.
“What we’ll do is we might not always have meetings specifically for certain days or weeks that are happening, but we will post stuff on social media in honor of that day,” Veselsky said.
These social media posts vary in content.
“So one of the examples we might do is, we might put up a post on social media about what transgender awareness week is, maybe how people could be good allies, ways that they could try to connect with the community, things like that,” Veselsky said.
Alliance also uses their general meetings to educate members about being transgender and the week itself.
“The general meetings we have will vary with what we decide to do. We do have a lot of educational meetings we’ll do where we discuss a variety of different topics. We will discuss things such as the trans community. This semester we’ve had two separate weeks covering LGBTQ+ history. We focus on sexuality but we also focus on gender identity and how that’s changed throughout history through culture, politics, different parts of the world,” Veselsky said.
She stressed the importance of education in making people better allies and deepening their understanding of all gender identities and cultural orientations.
“Just seeing more understanding of the community, being a better ally. Because if you’re more understanding, you could be a better ally so hopefully it’ll feel more like a safe space and it’ll feel more normalized. Because it’s not like well I don’t know anyone that’s transgender, well now I know a few people because at the alliance meeting I met new people, people that I might not have met otherwise,” Veselsky said.
They are also working on initiatives to help normalize all gender identities and sexual orientations on campus. One of these initiatives is giving all Valpo professors a list of resources on pronoun usage.
“Our hopes are if the professors can pick up on that and do that with students, introduce themselves for example like ‘Hi, my name is Professor so and so, my pronouns are she/her/hers’ and then they’ll go around the classroom they’ll have everyone do that. They’ll have everyone introduce themselves by name, but also by pronouns. We’re just trying to make it a little more normalized, but just try to raise awareness for it,” Veselsky said.
Veselsky believes this normalization is important in making campus a safe place for all of its members.
“I think it’s important because I think this community just needs to be more well known, it needs to become something where it’s just normal in society. The different parts of the community and the entire LGBTQ community, some of them face different situations, it highly depends, but we want to try and create a safe space on campus. Raise awareness so hopefully we can go out, we don’t need to worry about thinking about ‘Oh are they open here or do I have to maybe keep it down,’” Veselsky said.
She added that if we can create an open community on campus people will feel more safe.
“Because maybe they don’t have that at home, but that can have that sense of belief here,” Veselsky said.
She stressed that anyone interested can come to events and meetings.
“I want to emphasize if people are interested in ever coming to our meetings, you’re welcome to. It’s not just members of the community, allies, just anyone who’s interested, doesn’t matter. You’re more than welcome to come,” Veselsky said.
The best way to get involved in Alliance is to check their social media, sign up for their email list and also email them at email@example.com.