North Texas Daily

Trans students raise awareness

Trans students raise awareness

November 20
12:08 2014

Rhiannon Saegert / Senior Staff Writer

The Transgender and Intersex Alliance of Denton’s goal for Wednesday was to spread awareness of the dangers and challenges transgender individuals face as part of Trans Awareness Week, which runs Nov. 14-20.

“We were giving people little sheets of statistics. Just what trans people go through,” TRIAD president A.J. Aguinaga said. “For example, 50 percent of trans people will commit suicide in their lifetime. So that’s a lot, compared to the rest of the rest of the population. That’s a staggering difference.”

According to the flyers, 19 percent of transgender individuals younger than 18 have attempted suicide and 65 percent of transgender individuals of all ages have attempted suicide. 69 percent of transgendered high school students and 85 percent of trans college students have been sexually assaulted. A transgender person’s family cuts contact with them after they come out 57 percent of the time.

“We were spreading all these statistics people don’t know about, that people don’t think about, that they don’t have to think about,” Aguinaga said.

Transgendered people can lose their jobs, be forced to present as the wrong gender to keep their jobs and have been denied treatment from healthcare providers.

“Even if they’re not denied, oftentimes they’re treated as the sex they’re assigned at birth,” Integrative studies junior Bradi Pirtle said.

Pirtle, who was at the table the whole time, said students’ reception was generally positive.

“There were only a few people that willingly approach. Most of the time it was people who approached after we’d given them flyers, so they came back again. We didn’t have anybody flipping tables or anything,” Pirtle said.

Trans Awareness Week ends with the international Day of Remembrance Nov. 20. The day was started as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998, and has grown into a worldwide, annual memorial to honor all transgendered victims of violence.

Student services coordinator Kathleen Hobson said the nonprofit organization OUTreach Denton participated in the Day of Remembrance last year, but UNT did not participate.

“I had originally been planning on doing stuff at least for Trans Remembrance Day but had not come up with a specific plan,” Hobson said.

She said media library head Kim Stanton contacted her about showing the documentary Valentine Road, which is about the murder of high school student Larry King in 2008.

“It’s a film that talks about gender identity because the student in the film was shot at school because of their gender identity by another student” Hobson said. “So I said, ‘Is there a possibility we would be able to hold it off until the 20th and maybe do some other events surrounding that?’ We started building on it from there.”

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