A local program for trans and gender-variant individuals will host a week of activities in honor of Transgender Awareness Week.
The Trans Equity Project, a program of GALAEI, will host the first-time program to center the voices of trans individuals through panel discussions, movie screenings, a clothing drive, a protest and a marketplace featuring trans entrepreneurs and business owners.
Trans Equity Project co-coordinator Christian A’xavier Lovehall noted the importance of celebrating Transgender Awareness Week, Nov. 14-20.
“Trans people are the most marginalized individuals within the LGBTQ community and oftentimes we do not center those individuals,” he said. “This is a week to be intentional about that while also spreading awareness about various issues that we face, as well as the resources available in our city.”
The week will kick off Nov. 14 with the Opening Reception & Trans Youth Panel. Lovehall said the panel will feature a “diverse group of youth from all different backgrounds,” ages 18-24. As of presstime, the confirmed panelists included Sam Marks, Issak Wolfe and Ashley Presley.
GALAEI’s office will also host a clothing drive the following day. Lovehall said many of the individuals served by the Trans Equity Project have expressed a need for clothing.
“We do a lot of community engagement and from the conversations we had with the community, that’s a great need,” Lovehall said. “It’s getting colder so people are looking for boots and coats as well as housing, but at least if you’re homeless, you can be as warm as possible with some coats [and] some boots.”
The group will also screen three documentaries throughout the week in conjunction with fundraisers and dinners. The films include “Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson,” “Sylvia Rivera: Trans Movement” and “ANGEL.”
“We wanted to provide people with trans history. So the films are a reference to our history, honoring it and making people aware of it,” Lovehall said.
Another highlight of the week is the “Buy Trans Marketplace,” highlighting small businesses and vendors owned by trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.
“It’s important to invest in trans individuals,” Lovehall said. “A lot of times, people seek out organizations and grassroots groups but we have many businesses and entrepreneurs in our city who need local support. A lot of times, this is how people are providing for themselves, how they’re paying their bills, and this is a way to intentionally invest in those individuals.”
The week will conclude Nov. 20, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, to honor the lives of trans people who died due to suicide or violence. To observe this event, the Trans Equity Project will host the “NOT ONE MORE Rally & Silent March” in front of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Protesters will stay silent as an act of civil disobedience to raise awareness about the issues trans communities face.
“Our event will focus specifically on the trans lives lost in our state and city while, usually, the day covers national and international numbers,” Lovehall said. “We’re going to be at the D.A.’s Office to call them out and hold them accountable for the cold cases that exist in our city.”
Trans Equity Project: Trans Awareness Week will take place Nov. 14-20. Visit http://bit.ly/2hazh2W for more information and a full schedule.
SCHEDULE (All events are held at GALAEI’s office, 149 W. Susquehanna Ave., unless specified.)
Nov. 14, 5-8 p.m. — Opening Reception & Trans Youth Panel
Nov. 15, 5-8 p.m. — Clothing Drive: Donate, Swap or Just Fill A Bag! Clothes reserved for trans and GNC individuals
Nov. 16, 5-8 p.m. — Trans Cinema: “Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson” & “Sylvia Rivera: Trans Movement” film screenings and Trans Equity Project fundraiser
Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m. — Dinner and a documentary: “ANGEL,” by Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva, screening & Trans Equity Project Fundraiser; dinner provided by Raysor’s Cuisine
Nov. 18, 1-4 p.m. — Buy Trans Marketplace: Local trans and GNC vendor event, highlighting trans and gender-nonconforming small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up leaders
Nov. 19, 1-4 p.m. — TMAN Visitor’s Group (All are welcome, regardless of gender identity or expression)
Nov. 20, 4:30 p.m. — NOT ONE MORE Rally & Silent March at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, 3 S. Penn Square