Each year, thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals face various forms of discrimination that deeply affect their emotional well-being.
On Jan. 31, the U of R’s Pride Center held a Transgender Day of Remembrance in respect of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who have lost their lives due to discriminatory violence and suicide. Participating students pledged to remain silent throughout their day, even in class, in remembrance of the transgender/gender non-conforming individuals’ lives and the hardships they faced. Participants were encouraged to bring signs with them and, if they were willing, to wear masking tape on their mouth to symbolize the significance of the event.
Komz Muthyalu, a University of Redlands freshman, stated, “Although there is building acceptance for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, [many] people still don’t quite understand the struggles of identifying as transgender and non-binary. In many places in our country, we talk about sexuality a lot but we don’t talk about gender identification as much.”
“The students of University of Redlands should be really thankful that we live in a safe and accepting campus,” Muthaylu commented. “I think people should be honest and educate themselves on things [that they] can tell a transgender person, to make them feel comfortable, included…that their identity is valid.”
Students who work with the Pride Center, such as Muthyalu, shared their goal of societal inclusion with the hope that negative attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community can alter into a more open and inviting perspective.
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance is important to me and other people at the Pride Center because we identify as LGBTQ+,” Muthyalu shared. “We believe that every person has the right to be who they are and identify the way they want to be identified.”
Some people in the LGBTQ+ may be afraid to share their sexual orientation or gender identification with their peers due to the potential rejection or judgment they may face. The attempted suicide rate is 21 percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual youth and 40 percent for transgender youth, which reflects how significantly prejudice affects these youths’ lives.
“If people realize that members of our community are no different from them, I think that helps them broaden their mindset. Through contact and personal communication, people can realize that no one wants or wishes harm upon anyone but are very much people just like themselves…that they can have a bond/friendship with that individual despite who they love or what they identify as,” Muthyalu stated.
For those interested in any of the Pride Center’s upcoming events, they will be hosting Coming Out Monologues in the near future. The date is yet to be determined, but if you are looking for more information, visit the Pride Center located in Hunsaker Plaza.