By Jacob Silverman
City College celebrated Transgender Week of Resilience with a number of on-campus events that highlighted both Trans Remembrance and Trans Joy.
A ceremony was held on the afternoon of Nov. 15 in the Rosenberg Library to officially open the Trans Remembrance altar.
Around 25 seats were set up in the second floor atrium of the library. They all faced the altar which was made up of the names and pictures of trans people from history and from the lives of City College students and faculty who have passed away.
Upon entering, audience members were invited to write messages in celebration of those being honored, or to add the names of deceased trans loved ones from their lives. Before the ceremony began, attendees mingled and took pictures of the altar. Passersby were welcomed in graciously by Queer Resource Center (QRC) members and invited to take a seat. An audience of around 15 attended the ceremony, composed of faculty and students, many of which were involved with either QRC or the Link Center, who organized the event. The ceremony began with an Ohlone land acknowledgement and introduction of the altar by QRC coordinator Katie Dalla.
A call and response was then led by QRC student assistant Kazani Finao. Finao called out, “Trans!” and the audience responded with, “Joy!”
The call and response went back and forth multiple times, getting louder each time, receiving a large round of applause from the audience at the end.
QRC student assistant Jordan Langdon then shared a poem, followed by LGBT Studies Department Chair Dr. Breana Hansen.
Audience members recorded the poems, encouraging their peers by snapping along and yelling their names out in support.
The ceremony concluded with an invite by Dalla to have refreshments in the Queer Resource Center and a reminder to join them for various events the following day.
City College has held this ceremony a number of times in the past but this is the first time it’s been held in-person post pandemic, according to Finao.
“I’m a Samoan man with trans-experience,” Finao said. “I feel like us trans-mascs feel like we have to be hidden and I wanted to show them that they are visible and they have a community,” adding, “I wanted to share my loved ones.” Finao began his call and response by honoring a trans-man from his life whom he lovingly referred to as his brother.
The altar was relocated to the main entrance of the library and was available to view and add to for the remainder of the week.
The Queer Resource Center hosted a free lunch the following day. Students and faculty came and went from the center and enjoyed free pizza, soda, and each other’s company. Some attendants mingled while others gathered around the television to watch Barbie. Laughter and smiles filled the room, showcasing a thriving queer community at City College. A Q-tip painting session, done with Q-Tips instead of regular paint brushes to create a unique blotted effect, was hosted directly after the free lunch. QRC staff and community members sprung into action to prepare the room for the event while others socialized as music filled the space.
Many of the same attendees from lunch participated in the painting session, but just as many newcomers came to join in on the fun.
“This is my first time visiting the Queer Resource Center,” said a number of participants. Finao, Dalla, and many of QRC’s regulars welcomed them in with a smile and invited them to join in. Finao’s painting utilized the colors of the transgender flag in a freestyled pattern with the message, “BE DA BADASS YOU ARE!” written in the center.
Other painters created flowers and shapes while some chose to paint with no intention at all. One participant described the activity as, “therapeutic.”
The celebrations for Transgender Week of Resilience have concluded but the Queer Resource Center, which is located in Cloud Hall, Room 232 on the Ocean Campus, is open daily. Anyone is welcome in the space.