SafeZone intern, Sam Hammond, directed the Transgender 101 Workshop that took place on Friday, April 10. This talk placed emphasis on how students on campus can become more inclusive and understanding of the struggles of the transgender community.
“Actions that may seem small, like remembering to use someone’s preferred name or pronouns, will go a long way towards making a transgender student feel respected and safe,” Hammond said. “The key point of the workshop is to educate people about the proper terminology of the trans community and how we all can be proactive allies to this population.”
Hammond highlighted the importance of these simple acts and noted that students can sometimes overlook certain hardships experienced by the transgender population. Other members of the community fail to fully comprehend or be tolerant of this type of gender expression.
“I think there are many students who don’t fully understand that there are many different forms of gender expression or identity,” said Hammond.
Despite acknowledging that there are students who may not grasp certain forms of gender expression, Hammond said that, overall, Wheaton is a very tolerant college.
“I think Wheaton is a very inclusive school that is making significant efforts to be supportive of the trans population here and to have trans friendly programming,” said Hammond. “However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. We as a community should always actively strive to create an environment where people are free to be themselves without fear of judgment.”
Wheaton has become increasingly inclusive over the past several years, as SafeZone has helped the campus become more tolerant.
“The Trans 101 Workshop is an offshoot of Ally 101 that began to be held a few years ago,” Hammond said. “These workshops are put on by the SafeZone intern, currently me, who works for SAIL and is tasked with raising visible and active support for the LGBTQ community on campus.”
SafeZone is currently trying to reach out and engage more with the general student body at Wheaton to help it better understand and support the trans community. SafeZone is now holding resource hours 2-4 p.m. every Wednesday in the 1960s room in Balfour.
“Any student who wants to discuss these issues in more detail are welcomed to stop by,” Hammond said.
Hammond hopes that SafeZone will help improve student participation in these talks and eventually form a more inclusive Wheaton campus. Hammond wanted these workshops to become more open to the general student body and stated, “In the coming years, I would love to see these workshops continue, grow and become more accessible to all members of the campus.”