TransAction week hopes to bring optimism to campus

Kaitlyn Scoville, News writer

UW Oshkosh is celebrating TransAction week from April 1-5, which recognizes transgender and gender nonconforming individuals and will feature the TransAction conference this Saturday.

Director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center Liz Cannon said there is a theme each year for the event since it started in 2010, and this year’s is “We Unite: Trans Rights and Advocacy.”

“We were really looking at what the current climate is and thinking about how those of us who aren’t in the community need to unite with those who are,” Cannon said.

Cannon said that TransAction week is aimed at bringing an optimistic view to the transgender and nonbinary community.

“Most of the national days around transgender was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is unbelievably important, unbelievably depressing,” Cannon said. “We wanted to do something in the spring that took a whole different, very positive focus.”

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day dedicated to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.

The theme for the TransAction conference on Saturday “We Unite: Trans Rights and Self-Advocacy.” Registration for the conference can be found on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center events page.

Cannon said that the TransAction conference is geared toward transgender and nonbinary individuals, but strong allies are more than welcome to attend.

“We have people coming from Milwaukee, Green Bay, Stevens Point and Racine to get together and to talk about issues of resiliency, self advocacy and various areas that are affecting their lives,” Cannon said.

Co-programmer of Rainbow Alliance of Helping Others Perceive Equality Zachary Simonson said that opportunities like TransAction week are what can help make the campus community safer and more accepting of transgender and nonbinary folk.

“All this going on is a really good opportunity to educate yourself without grabbing a random trans person off the street and asking them questions,” Zachary said. “ It could take some of the weight off of people. Do it respectfully.”

There is also a trans ally training taking place today that Cannon, department of professional counseling associate professor Amney Harper and diversity and inclusion programming adviser Lee Stovall will be facilitating.

“This is what we call our T-SAFE training,” Cannon said. “It is basically a three-hour training to be an ally to the trans and nonbinary community.”

Rainbow Alliance of HOPE is hosting their annual drag show on Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Reeve Union Ballroom 227 with emcee Vivian Storm.

Tickets for the drag show are $3 for students and $5 for guests.

Keynote speaker JamesAlice Catherine (JAC) Stringer will discuss commonalities between native and trans activist movements today at 7 p.m. in Sage 1214.

According to Midwest GenderQueer, Stringer is a trans-genderqueer femme, disabled, Cherokee two spirit, radical activist and performance artist.

Cannon said Stringer will be covering topics comparing transgender movement with a native movement.

“One of the reasons that I picked that is that we’re always trying to look at ways in which our community intersects with other identities,” Cannon said. “And also we’re at a point where not only our trans rights are under attack, but native rights are also under attack. So, to have somebody that could talk about both would be really good for our community.”

Harper said she had met Stringer at a conference in the past, and Harper said Stringer was a perfect fit for this year’s TransAction week theme.

“He embodies what it means to advocate and make change, including how to advocate for oneself,” Harper said. “So just walking through the world as himself is an act of advocacy and self-advocacy.”

Harper said that she hopes the TransAction week and conference will spread education and awareness about the transgender and nonbinary community.

“It provides an opportunity to get to know trans and nonbinary people and the issues that affect the community,” Harper said. “Additionally, the conference is intended to be a safe place for trans and nonbinary folks to come together and learn and build community.”