Christina Carrafiell

Members and supporters of the transgender community gathered in New Haven on Saturday evening, calling for greater visibility on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Transgender activists and community organizers congregated on the New Haven Green on March 31 to celebrate themselves and their community. They also objected to those who have mistreated transgender people and criticized President Donald Trump’s recent policy decisions, including his decision to restrict transgender participation in the military. At the event, organizers made speeches and invited some of the roughly 40 people in attendance to speak about their experiences and involvement in the transgender community.

“The oppressions that we are dealing with and the erasure and the invisibility that we are dealing with under the Trump administration … is nothing new,” said Ivy Staklo, an intersex, nonbinary person who works with Trans Lifeline. “A lot of the trans brothers and sisters and siblings who walk the streets every day afraid … we walk around every day hoping and praying for invisibility at a time when we might want to celebrate ourselves.”

Staklo also highlighted key resources to which transgender people do not have access, such as transgender or gender neutral bathrooms.

Other members of the transgender community, some of whom are Yale students, spoke out about difficulties faced by transgender people in 2018.

Nash Keyes ’21, a board member for Trans at Yale, said that although the group is only two years old, it has built a strong community. Nash said that Trans at Yale has been excited to work with the transgender activists in New Haven and does not want to “section” themselves off from transgender people in the Elm City.

Xun ’18 — who asked to be identified only by their first name — highlighted how much Yale has changed since they first arrived on campus. When Xun started at the University, Trans at Yale did not exist, there were no mixed-gender or gender-neutral dorm rooms, and gender neutral bathrooms were practically nonexistent. Now, Xun said, students ask for others’ preferred pronouns, and the community in general has become more inclusive. Still, Xun said, that does not reflect the more difficult reality facing transgender people who do not have similar privileges to Yale students.

Reed Miller GRD ’22, who founded Black and Pink, which tries to alleviate the trauma undergone by transgender people in prison by organizing a pen-pal system, discussed the difficulties faced by all transgender people, not just prisoners.

The first International Transgender Day of Visibility took place on March 31, 2009.

Christina Carrafiell | christina.carrafiell@yale.edu