Transgender Awareness Week is being held this year from Nov. 13-19. It is an important time to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address the issues members of the community face. With the help of transgender students and advocates, Brooklyn College is working to educate the public about who transgender people are, by sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice and discrimination. Two transgender students who are helping to lead the way are Kyle Reese, chair for the Brooklyn College LGBT Resource Committee, and Nicholas Cevoli, Undergraduate Student Government Senator. We asked them about Transgender Awareness Week, their involvement, and their goals. Kyle Reese (Chair for the Brooklyn College LGBT Resource Committee. Pronouns: he, him, his) Why is Transgender Awareness Week important to you? Only 20% of Americans are aware that they know a transgender person, so it’s really no surprise that there’s so much conjecture around transgender issues — though that doesn’t lessen the impact of the stigma this creates. Transgender people face a lot of trauma because of the vitriol they experience in society. If we can increase our visibility to create positive narratives of “transness,” we can make a lot of headway in fighting against that stigma and workplace and healthcare protections, as well as teach society how to treat trans people with kindness. How are you helping Brooklyn College support their transgender and LGBTQ family as a whole? A group of students that I am a part of started the Queer Student Action Alliance that seeks to push for tangible change to support LGBT students on campus. Bathrooms are a major issue that we are looking to address. I also chair the LGBT Resource Committee which is a group of staff, faculty, and students that are working with the school administration on this and other issues. They have been working on bathrooms since 2017 and have been making some progress. We still have a way to go! What is Brooklyn College doing for Transgender Awareness Week and/or what are you doing? The LGBTQ Resource Center has really spearheaded Transgender Awareness Week with a movie showing of Lingua Franca, which is a film about a transgender Filipina woman and Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance is particularly important. It’s a day where we remember those who were killed because of their gender identity around the world. Last year there were 46 pages with more than 300 names, most of whom were transgender women of color and some of whom I knew personally. It is a hard day, but it is so important to remember what we’re up against and why it is so necessary to keep fighting. This event is Friday, November 20, 2020, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nicholas Cevoli (Undergraduate Student Government Senator. Pronouns: he/him/his) Why is Transgender Awareness Week important to you? I can sum up why Transgender Awareness Week is so important to me in one word, “Representation.” Representation of all different bodies and what it means to be trans is important for the world to know. It is this representation that can break down barriers, prevent discrimination, and allow people to take their own personal journey. How are you helping Brooklyn College support their transgender and LGBTQ family as a whole? To help support others who are transgender, like myself, I have been working with Brooklyn College Student Government (USG) as a senator to educate and pass resolutions to support all LGBTQ students at the college. These resolutions focus on issues such as safe spaces for student and the use of dead names in email addresses or Blackboard. What is Brooklyn College doing for Transgender Awareness Week and/or what are you doing? This year for Transgender Awareness Week, I will be attending the Transgender Day of Remembrance hosted by the LGBTQ Resource Center at Brooklyn College. It is such an important event to acknowledge what is happening to predominantly Trans Women of Color and honoring their lives.