‘All I Want Is For Us To Be Visible’ PRIDE President Speaks On Recognizing Transgender Deaths

Isabella Chan, News Editor

PRIDE President Amara Osorio braved the wet, bitter cold, along with other members of Central Connecticut’s PRIDE and LGBT Center, while their frigid fingertips clutched posters saying “raise awareness, stop the violence,” and “mental health awareness saves trans lives.”

“Trans lives matter, black lives matter!” echoed around the Student Circle as they stood together honoring the lives of transgender individuals who were lost to violence this year. Stories of the victims who were brutally murdered were added to the chants, giving names to the innocent.

Tracy Single was a 22 year-old transgender woman who was murdered in a Texas gas station over the summer. It took the police two weeks to identify her body, releasing no information in her case. She, along with 23 others, were transgender individuals who were murdered this year.

“Today we recognize the 24 trans women and individuals who were murdered this year. Trans people who were living their lives, living their truth and engaging with their partners and their families,” Osorio shouted at the rally. “They were shot, stabbed and beaten to their deaths across this country. From 2008 to 2019, 3,316 transpeople were murdered across the world. These injustices need to stop.”

The annual event, held on Transgender Day of Remembrance, gathered little to no crowd despite the number of people who witnessed their efforts as they walked by. Part of the lack of audience, LGBT Center worker Pat Bingham credited to the absence of announcements in advance.

“I definitely think it should’ve been announced more,” Bingham explained. “People in power should’ve said more about it. Just like any other minority group would’ve been given that opportunity to have it broadcasted, like Martin Luther King Day, celebrating African-Americans [and] their history or Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Although some of the members were disappointed in the turn out and expected a larger turnout, Osorio remained positive. She believed the small crowd was in part due to the “difficult time of the semester,” and weather.

“As long as the people walking by were able to hear our message, get a chance to see our signs and at least have an idea of trans stuff is important. Even if they think ‘these are just some queers cheering on the side of the Student Center,’ that’s still important because we’re screaming about something important,” Osorio said. “All I want is for us to be visible.”

“I do believe [Toro] is beginning to understand that she needs to listen more to the LGBT community on campus and so I know they’re in the process of getting a full-time director for the Center and other things. She’s taking steps but it’s still a slow process,” Aaron “Ronnie” Morabito, PRIDE secretary, stated.

“As the LGBT community and trans individuals, we kind of are seen as less than even though we are still seen as a cultural group. We’re a minority group and we deserve just as much as everyone else,” Bingham added.

As such, members of the LGBT community are looking for the university to better represent and provide greater resources to them. Over the years, the university has made accommodations, not all of them have been made easily accessible.

“The gender-neutral housing that we have here on campus isn’t made fully aware to students so it takes a lot of jumping through hoops for trans people to be able to get proper residency or getting on the right floor or room. That aspect definitely needs to be improved upon” Morabito said.

The rally attendees noted that along with a full-time director in the works, they are also allocating for the LGBT Center to absorb the third floor of the Student Center for their lounge, as it will help flourish their current process towards unity. Osorio noted that even with small forms of acknowledgements, such as use of preferred pronouns and right names, makes a difference.

“As a community, not just LGBT community but as a school, town, country, we need to change the attitude we have on trans people and create a sense of urgency in our need to protect trans people,” Osorio stated. “It’s important for students to remember these acts of violence are prevalent in our society. They really do happen.”