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Students gather in freezing temperatures for transgender justice

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“Not one more” was the theme of OU LGBT Center’s Rally for Trans and Queer Justice Friday afternoon as a crowd gathered to call for an end to LGBT violence.


Around 50 attendees at the Civil War Monument braved temperatures in the mid-20s for an hour as many queer and allied students gave speeches pertaining to the discrimination and violence LGBT students and people across the world face. The rally was inspired in part by the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who committed suicide due to her parents’ refusal to accept her gender identity.


“In [Alcorn’s suicide] notes, she challenged us to change society,” delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center and a trans person, said. “It is in her honor, and the honor of many others, to fix society and fix society now.”


Topics addressed by the student speakers included a call for better health care, both physical and mental, a call for society to treat trans and non-binary people with respect and a call to end the fetishization of trans people. The speakers also hit more personal topics; one trans student presented a poem they had written that talked about how their family disowned them when they came out as trans, as well as the family they found in the LGBTQ community.


“I smile more now, except when you’re in sight,” they said when reciting the poem. “My voice is stronger, except when yours is heard. My personal life is at peace, except when we fight. I’m beautiful now, though not the way you prefer.”


Student activists Claire Chadwick and Ryant Taylor led chants in between the speeches. Chants included, “When trans people are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Transphobia has got to go!”


A 2011 study done by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that among trans non-gender conforming people, 41 percent have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. That is nine times greater than the national rate, according to the LA Times.


While some acknowledged that both the university and society as a whole has progressed, there were still many topics that needed to be addressed to make trans and queer people feel safe both at Ohio University and in society.

“I’m proud of what we created here, but there’s a lot more work to be done,” one student speaker said.

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