UI Trans Alliance focuses on activism and education in Trans Week of Action

In various events throughout the past week, UI Trans Alliance brought education and activism to campus for Trans Week of Action.


Jenna Galligan

AJ King, President of the UI Trans Alliance, delivers a presentation called “Crash Course: Transphobia” at a brown bag event for Trans Week of Action in North Hall on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

In an effort to increase awareness and education about issues facing the transgender community on campus, the University of Iowa Trans Alliance held a number of events this week focusing on education and community activism.

The Trans Week of Action began with two educational sessions on Monday, one tailored for UI faculty and another aimed at students. UI Trans Alliance President AJ King led the sessions.

“Usually, people come with questions handy, and I’m able to maybe not necessarily give them an answer, but give my opinion … on what I think would benefit the community,” King said.

The sessions were focused on providing information about gender and sex, as well as addressing and preventing transphobia.

UI Student Government Finance Director Noel Mills, the UISG president-elect, attended the student educational on Monday. She said she was impressed with the level of information that was provided.

When building her platform for next year, she said, she reached out to members of the LGBTQ community to hear their concerns about representation on campus. One area she said she would like to focus on is LGBTQ-specific health resources on campus.

“You have to go to the community, and you have to ask what they need instead of just assuming,” she said.

Tuesday’s event was a workshop in which students could write to members of Congress on issues facing transgender people. This was a new event that hadn’t been featured in the organization’s previous activism efforts, and King said it arose from conversations with members of the Trans Alliance.

“There has been a lot of legislation that has been proposed and passed … and it has frustrated the trans community,” King said. “The workshop [focused] around what to do with that frustration.”

Wednesday’s event, in collaboration with the School of Social Work’s Brown Bag series, centered on community activism and education. The event provided much of the same information as the educational sessions, but it was focused on effective community engagement.

RELATED: UI Trans Alliance aims to create inclusiveness on campus, by organizing events for Trans Week of Actions

Seamus Deely, a sophomore studying communications, attended Wednesday’s event as an assignment for a class. He said he learned a lot about issues affecting transgender individuals from the presentation.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought,” he said. “Obviously, privilege-wise, I don’t have to ever think about it.”

Held in the Wesley Student Center, Thursday’s event was titled “Action Stations.” The event aimed to give students ways to engage with the information provided throughout the week.

“We want to make sure that people actually get some hands-on experiences and have something a little less lecture-based,” King said.

The evening’s activities included a “privilege walk,” which highlighted ways in which transgender people experience discrimination. Students also participated in reading children’s books without using gender pronouns and discussed gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

The week will come to a close today with a community dinner at the UI Pride Alliance Center, scheduled from 6-8 p.m.

“It’s just a really good time,” King said. “We’ll just come, and hang out, and celebrate another successful Trans Week of Action.”