Solidarity shown for Transgender Day of Remembrance


Junior nursing major Liz Kleinhenz, freshman science education major Cameron Smyk, sophomore theatre studies major Rue Monroe and sophomore zoology major Jordin Manning sit in front of the M.A.C Center in support of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

Cameron Gorman

Kent students and members of PRIDE! Kent sat on the stairs of the M.A.C Center Thursday afternoon, silently showing solidarity in observation of Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

“I feel like people don’t often think about, like with minorities, about how much murder and stuff is going on in the country,” said Jimmy Bowen, a sophomore sociology major and activism initiatives chair of Pride!Kent.

Trans Day of Remembrance memorializes those individuals who have died as a result of anti-transgender crimes and violence.

“The names that we’re displaying are the trans people in this past year that have been murdered,” Bowen said. 

Some fear this kind of violence may only increase in the country’s volatile post-election state.

Steven Stanek, a freshman translation major, is trans and felt that showing solidarity with fellow trans individuals was important, especially given the recent presidential election.

I know there are a lot of people saying that they’re planning to go back in the closet once (President-elect Donald) Trump is inaugurated, and there are lots of plans of people moving to Canada because both Trump, and especially Pence, have expressed views that are very hateful of the LGBT community,” Stanek said. “They have both endorsed some laws that would put a lot of LGBT people — and trans people, specifically — at risk.” 

The day is annually occurring, and will officially fall on Nov. 20 — this Sunday. An event in Cleveland, also on Thursday, sparked the early demonstration.

“Our issues are pushed aside because people honestly don’t understand them,” said Jordin Manning, a sophomore zoology major. “The concept of being not only trans, but also non-binary … (is a new idea) in terms of our understanding, but it’s been around since basically the beginning of time. So I feel like the reason why it’s not as publicized is because people don’t understand it.” 

The demonstrators sat on the steps until 1 p.m., holding signs that displayed the names of the victims.

“We have had people look over here, nod in agreement … smile, or even join,” Manning said. “I feel like with the inclusion of the names of people of color, it’ll bring to face that it’s not just a white thing, as a lot of people say; It’s universal.” 

Though the silent demonstration has ended, the group plans to hold a reading of names on the K at Risman Plaza this afternoon, from 4 to 5 p.m. 

“The trans community is very diverse, just like any other community is. So I feel like if there is a face to this, it’ll be a little bit easier to grasp for some people,” Manning said.
 Cameron Gorman is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]