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Harvard students celebrated Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, attending a series of events during the week to honor the experiences of transgender people and raise awareness to the challenges they face.
The events included a “TransQuinceañera,” information stations at the Office for BGLTQ student life, the opportunity to write letters to trans children, Q&A sessions with individuals to amplify the experiences of those who identify as trans, and documentary screenings.
Meagan von Rohr, the assistant director of the College’s Office of BGLTQ Student Life, hosted open hours at the BGLTQ office — also known as the QuOffice — in the days leading up to Trans Day of Visibility. These conversations, open to students across the University, included discussions on advocating for trans rights, allyship, and amplifying the voices of trans students.
“We also have stations where people can learn how to contact their elected officials,” von Rohr said in an interview last week. “We encourage folks to do that if they are comfortable with it. It is a little bit of an American focus because that’s where we are right now.”
Von Rohr said trans people in the U.S. currently face an array of difficulties and barriers, referencing more than 300 anti-trans bills across 44 states.
“They’re being legislated against and they’re not a huge part of our population nationally,” they added.
Amber M. Simons ’26, the co-president of the newly formed Harvard Undergraduate Queer Advocates, said administrators — including Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana — attended events and stations at the QuOffice.
Hannah L. Niederriter ’26, the secretary of HUQAD and an organizer of the Trans Day of Visibility programming, said organizers invited administrators to help them connect with trans students on a personal level.
“We really wanted to just make them feel like they felt included and that we were listening to their concerns and that we were actively trying to make a difference for the betterment of their communities,” Niederriter said.
“We wanted to show that admin was also willing to learn and take steps to improve conditions not only on campus, but just in general for the trans community,” she added. “They get to demonstrate their support and see where they could improve.”
Simons said students can become engaged with fighting anti-trans legislation and supporting trans people not only on Trans Day of Visibility, but “throughout the year.”
“It is a really difficult time to be gender non-comforming or trans or gender diverse, and it doesn’t need to be,” von Rohr said. “I just want them to know that we’re here for them at the QuOffice.”
Harvard affiliates gathered at Adams House on April 1 for a festive TransQuinceañera, which featured dancing, a documentary screening, and a performance. The event was held in honor of Trans Day of Visibility and Women’s History Month, which is celebrated throughout April.
Michael Ángel R. Vázquez, a resident tutor at Adams and a member of the Latinx Student Association and LGBTQ Association at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said the evening was “an act of gratitude” and an opportunity to support “our trans siblings.”
The event featured activist, artist, and educator Lía García, who gave a performance and discussed healing and visibility as a trans woman. According to Vázquez, the event was initially planned for April 2020, but it was postponed for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We can talk about the difficulties that queer and trans people face, in particular trans people,” Vázquez said. “But we can do it from a point of beauty and goodness.”
—Staff writer Hana Rostami can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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