Story by Kallie Delis; photos by Sergio Salinas
New College students, faculty, and staff gathered outside of the Hamilton Center at sunset Nov. 20 to begin a walk down to the bay in observance of Trans Day of Remembrance.
As colorful streaks spread through the sky, members of the school walked in solidarity to honor transgender people who have lost their lives due to violence this year. The attendees carried tea lights and held a vigil sitting in a circle at the Bayfront.
Once there, students took turns reading from a list of names of the deceased. There were moments of silent reflection, and counselor-facilitated discussions of people that the attendees knew, loved, and lost. This event was a much-needed space for students to grieve and connect.
“A lot of queer events on campus are more cheerful and more celebrating these identities. Trans Day of Remembrance is more about the darker aspects of that experience,” said event host Jas Prophet.
The event was two years in the making, according to Prophet. There was a growing sense on campus that this emptiness should be addressed. “In talking to students on campus they feel like the trans community doesn’t get enough attention as it could, or as it should,” said Prophet, a third-year student and resident advisor. It was the perfect opportunity to provide such a space for the New College community.
Trans remembrance means a great deal to Prophet. “It means a lot to me personally because I just started using nonbinary pronouns, and I also have a lot of trans people in my life who are important to me. It’s been really nice to support them through that transition,” said Prophet.
Beyond personal connections, Prophet was also able to coordinate with Tparty, a new trans club on campus. Much like the campus rallied for this day of reflection and grieving, some of the club’s members were present in support.
“I think that the most important takeaway is developing a deeper awareness, understanding, and kinship amongst the trans community, and amongst allies for the trans community,” said Prophet.
It is an opportunity and invitation for people to reflect and learn about the trans community at New College, as well as the surrounding area. Prophet wants to be part of that process of acknowledgement. “People die for being trans, and that’s a fact. And maybe we should acknowledge that fact and support people who face that fear every day,” said Prophet.
— Kallie Delis is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing at New College of Florida.