Discussing Transphobia Within the LGBT Community – A Panel Event at the GCCR this Sunday
A panel discussion will be held by transgender panelists at the Gay Community Center this Sunday, Nov. 17, to discuss an often over looked and under-represented issue – transphobia among the LGBT community.
The event titled “TransPhobia in the LGBTQ Community,” is being sponsored by SAGE. SAGE, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Elders, is a non-profit organization devoted to improving the lives of elders in the LGBT community.
Wes McWillen serves as a co-facilitator with Richmond Transformers and has been working on promoting this event and other events for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) which is held annually on Nov. 20. Richmond Transformers is a peer-facilitated social and support group in the Richmond area for anyone on the trans-masculine spectrum.
“Trans Day of Remembrance is a memorial service that happens every year that memorializes the lives lost to transphobic violence every year and that’s all around the world,” McWillen said. “And many of them are often not even known so this is the only memorial that they get. We take the time to consider the lives of those people who have been lost and think about transvisability and what we can do so that we can get to the point where it’s no longer happening.”
McWillen, who identifies as a gay transgender man, says he gets involved because it’s really the only day for transgender people during the year.
SAGE holds discussion panels regularly but McWillen said this is the first time there will be a discussion event on transphobia in Richmond.
Transphobia is defined as the discrimination of transgender people. This lecture, however, will focus on how other members of the LGBTQ spectrum treat trans folks. McWillen says he and other panelists will discuss their experiences during the event Sunday.
“What is going to happen is trans people are going to share experiences in which some of it was within our community that we would have thought had been educated on who we are have not been,” McWillen said. “Experiences of working with someone who is prominent in the LGBT community who might not have understood someone’s identity, might have used the wrong pronoun, or might have made a suggestion that was offensive but didn’t know it.”
McWillen says Richmond has been involved with TDoR the past seven years and he gets involved to educate people on certain things which could be invasive, taboo and offensive.
“I would say that we would encourage allies to come out especially if they have questions that they would like to ask about what could be offensive if they’re not sure,” McWillen said.
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