In the midst of Latinx Heritage Month, the Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) club has begun to make its first impressions on Wheaton’s campus. Last Thursday, the club hosted a screening for the film Mala Mala, which documents nine accounts of the transgender community in Puerto Rico. The film explores various forms of gender expression, from drag queens to transgender men and women.
Mala Mala also discusses the issues and systematic fallbacks experienced by those that don’t conform to gender norms, such as healthcare reform, prostitution, job discrimination, and gender reassignment surgery. The film also evaluates the societal differences between light and dark-skinned Puerto Ricans, and if this
“As a society, we’re far from being inclusive in every aspect,” said Ashley Tsegai ’19, the club’s secretary. “Healthcare, I feel like, is one of the forefronts that people don’t usually talk about that needs to be reformed.”
One of the featured transgender women in Mala Mala, Ivana Fred, is a transgender activist that spearheaded the Butterfly Transgender Foundation. The film follows their development, as well as their march to the government building that led to the passing of the Senate Bill 238, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
QTPOC believes that the film is an example of the intersectional discussions that they hope to bring to campus. “Intersectionality is an easy word to discuss,” Tsegai said, “but when you get into the smaller aspects to it, like what does it mean to be a light skinned trans queer person, it’s a whole chunk of things that aren’t being discussed.”
QTPOC was recently approved as a club last spring, and are in the process of establishing weekly meetings. “QTPOC was created because we felt that there wasn’t a lot of discussion on intersectionality and race and queer and trans people on campus,” Tsegai said. This intersectionality includes race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
“The way our club sees it, we just wanna put ourselves in a space where we’re able to talk about that intersectionality that is facilitated in a way that allows people to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘ I don’t understand,’ and in a way that allows people to ask genuine questions,” said Sol Martinez Guevara ’19, QTPOC’s president.
QTPOC is holding a mixer for queer and transgender people of color in the Lyon’s Den on Friday September 23, as well as hosting several other discussion events for the remainder of the month.
“We just wanna be able to provide platforms for people for dialogue,” Martinez Guevara said. “I’m plugging so much for dialogue because I believe that’s the best way for knowledge to come about.”
QTPOC will be having weekly meetings every Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. in the May Room in Mary Lyon.