Celebrate Gender Diversity Awareness Week

On the evening of Nov. 17, a group gathered at Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA) in downtown Eugene for a panel of six people, who identify as trans*, sharing stories and answering questions, which included everything from dating to experiences with Eugene’s healthcare system. Trans* is a term that refers to trans and gender non-conforming people. It encompasses all identities within the gender spectrum.

At points, the room erupted in laughter and applause; at other times, a palpable and solemn silence took over. The event, “Insight into Self: A trans* experiential panel,” kicked off Eugene’s Gender Diversity Awareness Week.

Mayor Kitty Piercy issued a proclamation deeming Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance. She says the proclamation “honors those who have died by homicide at the hands of ignorance and prejudice …”

While some events have passed, like a Nov. 18 gender identity panel and a screening of the documentary American Transgender in the UO’s Lillis Hall Nov. 19, here are the events for the rest of Gender Diversity Awareness Week.

On Thursday, Nov. 20, a vigil will take place at the Atrium Building (99 W. 10th Ave.) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, which will include monologues, food and a reading of the more than 100 names of trans* people who have been killed because of transphobia. “I hope people come away feeling that they’re not alone and that we are making progress,” says Becket Rowan, a committee member at Community Alliance for Lane County.

At 7:30 pm Friday, Nov. 21, The Redoux Parlour (781 Blair Blvd.) is hosting the Trans* Art Show and Fashion Gala, which will feature the work of local trans* artists, and people will be able to dress up in any clothes from the store’s resale section. Later, there will be a catwalk contest and the winner will get to keep their outfit (under $100).

“Part of some social work we do is make our shop gender-inclusive. We don’t have the store organized by gender; we have everything mixed together,” says Oblio Stroyman, one of the shop’s owners who identifies as trans*.

Also happening 6 pm Friday is a Trans Women in Politics discussion in the Walnut Room of the EMU, hosted by the UO LGBTQA Alliance. Join for an open discussion with Christina Lugo, the first trans* woman to run for U.S. Senate, and Laura Calbo, the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.

To conclude the week on Saturday, Nov. 22, there will be a Gender Celebration Dance Party in the South Performance Hall of the Living Learning Center on the UO campus from 9 pm to midnight. Anybody of any age who identifies as trans* or an ally is welcome.