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Speakers Invited For Transgender Awareness Week

Speakers Invited For Transgender Awareness Week

Speakers Invited For Transgender Awareness Week

Conversations on Non-Binary and Transgender Experiences

Staff Writer

November 17, 2022

Kate Chou '25

Seventy-eight percent of transgender and non-binary students surveyed by the National Transgender Discrimiantion Survey report being bullied and harassed in school, some so severely that the quality of their education and mental health are at risk. The school spent this week offering programming to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week and educate and support community members.

Aster Lufkin ’23, head of Pastel, the school’s trans and non-binary student affinity group, spoke in All- school Meeting on Friday, November 11, highlighting trans and non-binary people who have had an impact on the world. He brought attention to discrimination faced by members of the community and noted that trans people are five times more likely to commit suicide than cisgender peers and four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes. 

He said, “I want to bring attention to transgender people throughout history that nobody knows about because transgender [people] have often been silenced or hidden, like many queer people. More and more, transgender identities have become a topic of controversy and politics. I want to show that transgender people are more than a political conversation; [they are] real-life people. I want transgender people to know that the school cares about them.”

On Sunday, November 13, actor Cody Sloan joined students via Zoom to share some of his experiences as an out trans man in Hollywood. In 2021, Sloan’s work as the lead in the off-Broadway play Seven Deadly Sins was featured in the New York Times. He is currently appearing in an all-queer and trans production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. 

As one of the first out trans people to attend Northfield Mount Hermon, Sloan shared some advice for students, saying, “Rely on your community and be good to each other. Check on people, because boarding school is overwhelming and hard. Invest in things that bring you joy.”

The English department invited trans author Kasey LeBlanc to speak in the Faculty Room on Tuesday evening. LeBlanc’s debut novel Flyboy, which is scheduled for publication in Winter 2024, chronicles the experience of a closeted trans teenager attending a Catholic school. LeBlanc said the book’s protagonist, Asher, who dreams about joining a magical circus, was created with his former self in mind.

Lufkin reintroduced Community Conversations on Wednesday, November 16, with a fishbowl called “Everything You Wanted to Know but were Afraid to Ask about Transgender Identities.” Prior to Covid, the DEI Office frequently hosted community conversations called “Everything You Want to Know but were Afraid to Ask About....” focused on different marginalized identities. Trans and non-binary community members answered questions that had been submitted through an anonymous form to the school earlier in the week. 

Lufkin said, “I’m a believer that hate stems from ignorance, but a lot of times there is judgment around having questions and not knowing, so this fishbowl-style community conversation allowed peo- ple to ask questions without fear of judgment.”

Community members can purchase stickers in the Dining Hall to raise money for Point of Pride, an organization that provides gender-affirming healthcare to trans individuals.

Kate Chou is a staff writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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