As a result of misinformation or lack of information, misconceptions about the transgender community are often made.
Transequality.org describes transgender as a term used for individuals whose gender identity is different from those that tend to identify with the sex that they are born with.
Michelle Fournier, Gender and Sexuality outreach coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, stresses the importance of understanding that gay individuals have different world experiences than transgender individuals.
“There’s this acronym LGBTQ+ and we all kind of get lumped into the acronym but all of the identities are very different,” Fournier said.
According to Fournier some of the common misconceptions about transgender individuals is that identifying as transgender is a “phase” or a “choice.” Also, transgender individuals are often wrongfully portrayed in the media.
“Because it is so complex, I feel that a lot of people are intimidated and are afraid of making mistakes and they don’t approach the topic,” Fournier said.
The transgender visibility campaign gives students an opportunity to learn more about the transgender community and become more comfortable approaching the topic.
Lyn Ciurro, senior communication sciences and disorders major, is the executive coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center and co-founder of the transgender visibility campaign. Ciurro identifies as non-binary.
According to transstudent.org identifying as non-binary can be an expression or presentation of either a transgender or cis-gender individual. An individual that identifies as non-binary does not always also identify as transgender.
Ciurro said that campaign members have organized a week full of events that empower and educate individuals. The campaign puts on events every semester. This semester, Ciurro and other members of the campaign are planning a day-long event.
The event will feature speakers and artwork by and for transgender individuals.
Ciurro said that both students and community members have had positive reactions to past events. There is not a set date for the event, but it is expected to occur in late March or early May.
Sophie Hart, the other founder of the campaign, has worked alongside Ciurro in putting it all together.
Last semester, as part of the campaign, Hart posted a series of informative videos educating people on the transgender community. Hart discussed topics such as gender, sex, and proper pronoun usage.
Hart is working to set up two separate programs focusing on how to interact with transgender individuals in both medical and mental health settings.
The programs do not have dates yet, but are expected to happen this semester.
Hart is passionate about the positive impact that the transgender visibility campaign has and will continue to make on campus.
“The service it’s doing is very pronounced because over the last few years I have noticed transgender people coming out generally and privately in larger numbers” Hart said. “I would say that there is more trans people on campus than even I initially suspected.”