By Shanelle Henry
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Transgender Awareness Week is recognized annually between November 13–19. Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender Awareness Week was established to educate the public about who transgender people are by sharing their stories and experiences, and through promoting awareness and advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community. Every year the week leads up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, which was founded to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. To date, 2021 marks the most deadly year recorded with at least 45 transgender people killed, most of whom were identified as Black or Latinx.
This week, you are encouraged to make time to educate yourself about transgender history – past and present. For example, this week the New Haven Pride Center is hosting a series of free virtual events, activities, workshops, and more on Facebook & YouTube. And at GFA, QUEST (Questioning, Understanding, and Educating about Sexuality Today), the Upper School Gender & Sexuality Alliance, meets weekly to provide discussion and plan programs to ensure that GFA is a safe space for students of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Overall, while there has been noticeable progress in some areas in recent years — like the visibility of transgender people in popular culture, historic wins in recent elections, and improvements in health care — the transgender community still faces a real risk of daily discrimination and violence. At the core of our GFA mission is a commitment to ensuring that all members of our school community are acknowledged, respected, and understood. During this Transgender Awareness Week, and every week of the year, we will continue to work towards lived equity for all GFA students, faculty, and families.