HBCUs Connecting with the Transgender Community
June 20, 2014 by Samantha Master
As an HBCU student, I found a deep sense of community with queer and trans people of color on and around my campus. I vividly remember the first trans woman student I encountered at my university, and the sense of disillusionment she felt from LGBT students who wanted to add her voice only when it was convenient to do so. It was in those conversations with that young woman that inspired me to envision gender and trans justice as inextricably linked to LGBT justice.
It was with a commitment to her and my community that I entered the Youth and Campus Engagement program at HRC and made a point to ensure trans voices were at the table and elevated as we engaged in HBCU work.
This past weekend, among the thousands of transgender activists, advocates and allies gathered in Philadelphia, PA for the Mazzoni Center’s 13th annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC) were 2013 HBCU summit attendees. For many youth and young adult transgender people, PTHC provides resources and support to help guide them through transition by connecting them with care providers, advocacy organizations, and other trans people—like themselves.
One of the most rewarding experiences of this year’s PTHC was seeing the ways the summit attendees engaged each other in community. The amazing voices of those youth reminded me that affirming queer and trans experience for people of color was a revolutionary act.
Now in it’s 10th year, the HBCU program affirms the value of trans-inclusive spaces and the necessity of making space on college campuses for trans people.
To learn more about HRC’s work with HBCUs and/or apply for this year’s summit, please visit hrc.org/hbcu .
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