‘The First Event of Its Kind’: Students Host Harvard Trans+ Community Event | news

Hundreds of students and affiliates crowded the Cabot House Theater Wednesday night for Harvard College’s first Trans+ Community Celebration.

The event, which included speaker panels and a health services resource fair, was hosted by the College’s Office of BGLTQ Student Life and Harvard’s Chapter of Athlete Ally – an organization whose mission is to “provide visibility and empowerment for every gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and… Gender expression in sport.”

The event’s resource fair aimed to connect students and partners with a variety of local organizations, including Boston Area Trans Support and the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Boston Medical Center, along with other state and local institutions and organizations, hosted tables near the auditorium.

Charlie King ’24, lead organizer of the event, praised the turnout, but called gatherings like Wednesday’s “a rarity.”

“You can just see the light that comes into people when we’re all together as a community, in ways that we have very few opportunities to do,” King said.

During the event, speaker Elliot J. Marrow ’14 said the trans community needs people “who are willing to speak to their organizations, their churches, their school boards, their neighborhoods” about trans awareness and allies.

“Trans people can speak for themselves and it’s important to amplify trans people’s voices, but it’s also true that we’re a small community and we’re under tremendous pressure,” Marrow said. “Every time we see someone ready to fight for us, the world feels a little bit safer and a little bit kinder.”

Nicole R. “Nicki” Lutschaunig ’23-’24 described the event as “incredibly important” due to its focus on trans people and allies.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot of LGBTQ+ community events, which is great,” said Lutschaunig. “Having a focus on the trans+ community is also very important because they’re addressing issues that other queer people might not have.”

Anna Baeth, director of research at Athlete Ally, hosted a learning room and presentation that drew dozens of Harvard partners and enlightened attendees about alliances and issues faced by transgender athletes.

“This is the first event of its kind I’ve seen — a real celebration and conversation about trans life and trans life in sport,” Baeth said in an interview. “My hope is that this is something that can really be replicated in other parts of the United States, but also really be a moment of reflection and a moment of joy for the trans community.”

John R. Cordes, a competitor and member of the Harvard Curling Team, said he admires athlete Ally and believes that “exercise can be a really powerful way to be inclusive and empowering.”

“It’s important to show that there are allies and resources on campus and in the community and just a kind of general support,” Cordes said.

King said they hope to work with the university to secure more funding and resources for future trans+ community events.

“It felt great to have a place for community and to learn from people with whom I share a common identity,” King said. “This event truly represents trans joy at its finest, bringing people together, the opportunity to exist as our truest forms of selves and continue to learn and grow with people who care about us.”

– Author’s collaborator Darley AC Boit can be reached at [email protected]

—Employee Vivi E. Lu can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @viviu_.

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