Program to Highlight Transgender Issues

TRANSaction will
TRANSaction will take place in Lecture Center 102 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 12

The Resident Association staff of LeFevre Hall will be hosting its first ever TRANSaction program on Monday, March 12.

“The point is to learn to not only tolerate a specific group of people, but also to celebrate our differences,” the Resident Association staff said.

The program is meant to advocate, educate and shed light on a topic the Resident Association staff believe to be “kept in the dark,” according to their TRANSaction Facebook page.

Hoping to draw in students from all over the campus and town to the event, the Resident Association staff’s main goal is to introduce everyone to a new type of person they may not have been familiar with before.

Resident Assistant (RA) Jon Novick said a balance of people with personal connections and those without are welcome. The event is meant to draw from a diverse segment of the campus community.

TRANSaction will take place in Lecture Center 102 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature three keynote speakers as well as seven small-group speakers, making a total of 10 advocates.

The speakers whom the RA staff have reached out to include: Tyler Sliker, inspiration for the TRANSaction event; Genna Suraci, the principal of Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center in Port Ewen, N.Y. who is currently undergoing a sex change and Pauline “The Activist,” a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) activist from New York City who will be sharing information on a current project she is working on pertaining to the subject.

Representatives from the Queer Action Coalition (QAC) will also be coming to speak during the small-group portion of the event, fourth-year RA Jess Fiorello said. They’re going to focus more as to how people should refer to the transgender community. It’s going to be a “Trans101.”

“When we began looking for people to speak on behalf of the cause,” LeFevre’s Resident Director Stephanie Abrams said. “The people we wanted were already so eager. There were even random people offering donations in order to make this event happen.”

The problems that are going to be discussed during the program are not just campus issues, Abrams said. She said they are world-wide problems and need to start being addressed.

“It’s funny,” second-year RA Caitlin O’Donnell said. “People are more willing today to cater to the lesbian/gay community, but not the transgender.”

TRANSaction, though specific to the transgender community, is designed around the notion of acceptance. According to the Resident Association staff, we all have close friends who have been waiting for an event like this and it has been difficult to watch a group of people struggling to live life fully.

“The point is they’re people, look at them like that,” third-year RA Mike Blandino said. “I’m Italian, whatever, I’m still just a person.”

This event has been in the works since the spring semester of 2011, and the staff of LeFevre Hall have been posting flyers around campus, updating their Facebook page and travelling from hall to hall, to communicate with students about the program.

The hope, Blandino said, is to attract at least 10 students from each hall.

“We want to see people hanging from the rafters. That’s how popular this event should be,” Blandino said.

TRANSaction, Blandino said, will hopefully bring more awareness to Hudson Valley LGBTQ, an organization whose mission is to support, strengthen and celebrate LGBTQ individuals and their families.

“Bringing more awareness to the LGBTQ organization on campus would be good too,” Novick said. “They’re there when you look for them, but they’re not right in your face.”

The LGBTQ organization on campus, much like the community LGBTQ of Hudson Valley, said its mission is to provide support for the students. They intend to strengthen the relationship between LGBTQ youth and allied youth and encourage unity.

“We want to give people [the] opportunity to learn,” second-year RA Chelsea DeLisser said. “If people want to learn, we want to tell them.”

The RA staff said for more information regarding the TRANSaction program on Monday, March 12, visit their SUNY New Paltz TRANSaction