By Lidia Abraha
Ryerson is celebrating its second year of Trans Awareness Month with new and old festivities. This is the time of year where faculty, students and community members can join together in solidarity of trans and non-binary people.
During the opening event, people gave their remarks and installed a 20-foot banner of the trans pride flag between Jorgenson and Kerr Hall. The banner is coloured with various shades of purple, blue and pink stripes to represent non-binary folks.
“We’re actually surprisingly happy about the banner,” said Robert Molloy, a coordinator at the RU Trans Collective. “You can tell they actually talked to people. Because they used a different design that a lot of folks like more.”
Molloy is comparing the banner to an older version of the trans pride flag that had pink, blue and white stripes—which can be viewed as non-inclusive of non-binary folks.
Positive Space, a volunteer-based employee community network committed to making equitable events for marginalized people on campus, organized the first-ever rising of the trans flag on campus last year.
However, they were criticized for raising the flag on colonial land. A spokesperson for Positive Space said the committee who worked on the flag raising last year felt that it was an important statement to raise a trans flag in the same space where the colonial Canadian flag flies.
“That said, the committee is continually discussing and reevaluating the symbolism we use, which is why we’ve moved forward with the banner raising this year,” they wrote in a statement.
But Molloy said there has been more consultation this year. He helped facilitate the Trans 101 workshop and gave remarks at the Sumaya Dalmar Award launch with Goldbloom, the other coordinator of the collective. The award is given to a racialized trans student at Ryerson.
Other festivities in the coming month include a Trans Inclusion in the Classroom workshop, where community members can learn how to foster a more inclusive learning environment for trans folks. There is also a film screening of Sex, Spirit, Strength on Nov. 20—Trans Day of Remembrance—at the Ryerson library. This documentary is about two Indigenous men that discover the stigma associated with their gender identity and sexual health.
The RU Trans Collective will also be holding their own student-focused events such as decompression spaces and a check-in meeting halfway through the month on Nov. 15.
Goldbloom said this month is a time for folks to educate themselves on Trans and non-binary history. They also said it’s a time for allies to take the time to check in on the trans folks they know to say ‘Hey, how are you doing? I’m here to check in on you, I hope you’re doing OK.’”
This story was updated with comment and clarification from Positive Space, which was not present in a previous version of this article.
A previous version of this article said this was Ryerson’s third year organizing Trans Awareness Month events. This is the second year Positive Space is organizing events for the month. The Eyeopener regrets this error.