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Trans Awareness Month kicks off with curated content for everyone

This year’s activities mix in-person and virtual, asynchronous opportunities to learn and get active
October 29, 2021
 A transmasculine gender non-conforming person reading a newspaper.

This year’s activities for Trans Awareness Month blend in-person and virtual events while also providing asynchronous opportunities to learn about trans authors, researchers and activists. 

November is Trans Awareness Month and the university’s Positive Space network has a number of great events scheduled all throughout the month, including some month-long advocacy and educational opportunities. The events are open to all community members, and Positive Space is excited to increase participation this year. 

“We really hope that we have a wide engagement across the university,” say Michael Turco and Dan Cantiller, co-chairs of Positive Space, a faculty and staff network affiliated with the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion. “In addition to the educational events, we’ve also centred on more community-focused programming; we’ve partnered with Athletics and Recreation to help promote their annual trans and allies group fitness classes and trans and gender-diverse swim times.”

This year, the team decided to run an asynchronous event called “Read Something, Watch Something, Do Something.” This partnership between the University Library and Positive Space provides the community with opportunities to learn about trans authors, researchers and activists. “For a while now, the University Library, a hub of community, knowledge and outreach, has been an integral resource for Positive Space. Some of our most active members are librarians,” say Turco and Cantiller. “In the past, in partnership with the Library, we’ve hosted book clubs and author talks that centre trans writers.” 

“‘Read Something, Watch Something, Do Something’ is a natural continuation of this work, keeping in mind that we wanted to minimize synchronous Zoom meetings, without losing the community-based spirit,” they say. Participants will have access to a curated list of trans-centred books, films and other media to engage with, and also features a letter writing campaign. “Part of raising trans awareness includes reminding people that activism is still a core part of the fight against erasure and marginalization,” say Turco and Cantiller.

“We’ve got something for everyone and we hope to see you there.”

This month’s events

November 1 - 30: Read Something, Watch Something, Do Something means you can participate in this asynchronous book club, with a variety of options. All materials will be available for free to university students, faculty and staff via the University Library. The broader community is welcome to read and watch their choice of selections from this list.

All month long, Positive Space is working with Athletics and Recreation to promote Trans and Gender-Diverse Inclusion activities at the RAC and virtually, including weekly trans and allies group fitness classes on Zoom, and trans and gender-diverse swim times in-person. Free trial memberships are also available throughout the entire month of November. 

November 18: Gender Affirmation Benefits: An information Session with HR will cover the new gender affirmation benefit available to university staff and dependents. This workshop is ideal for trans-identifying staff, allies and leaders. 

November 23: The How to Be a Trans-Inclusive Leader session is hosted by Art Blake and Dani Gomez-Ortega and is perfect for staff and leaders wondering how to make their department or office more welcoming and inclusive to trans folks. 



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