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‘The First Event of Its Kind’: Students Host Harvard Trans+ Community Event

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Hundreds of students and affiliates crowded into Cabot House Theater for Harvard College’s first Trans+ Community Celebration on Wednesday evening.

The event, which featured speaker panels and a resource fair for healthcare services, was held by the College’s Office of BGLTQ Student Life and Harvard’s chapter of Athlete Ally — an organization whose mission is to “create visibility and liberation for every sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in sports.”

The event’s resource fair aimed to connect students and affiliates with a variety of local organizations, including the Boston Area Trans Support and the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Boston Medical Center, along with other state and local institutions and organizations, hosted tables near the auditorium.

Charlie King ’24, lead organizer of the event, praised the high turnout but described gatherings like Wednesday’s as a “rarity.”

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“You can just see sort of the light that goes into people when we’re all together as a community in a way that we get very few opportunities to do,” King said.

During the event, speaker Elliot J. Marrow ’14 said the trans community needs people “willing to speak with their organizations, their churches, their school boards, their neighborhoods” about trans awareness and allyship.

“Trans people can speak for themselves and it is important to amplify trans voices, but it’s also true that we are a small community, and we are under enormous pressure,” Marrow said. “The world feels a little safer and a little kinder every time we see someone’s willing to go to bat for us.”

Nicole R. “Nicki” Lutschaunig ’23-’24 described the event as “incredibly important” due to its focus on trans people and allies.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen many LGBTQ+ community events, which are great,” Lutschaunig said. “Having one focused for the trans+ community is also really important because they deal with issues that maybe other queer people don't.”

Anna Baeth, director of research for Athlete Ally, hosted a learning space and presentation that drew dozens of Harvard affiliates and educated attendees on allyship and issues facing transgender athletes.

“This is the first event of this kind that I’ve ever seen — a true celebration and conversation about trans lives and trans lives in sport,” Baeth said in an interview. “My hope is that this is something that really can be replicated in other parts of the United States, but also can really be a moment of reflection and a moment of joy for the trans community.”

John R. Cordes, an attendee and member of the Harvard Curling Team, said he appreciates Athlete Ally and believes that “sports can be a really powerful way of being inclusive and empowering.”

“It’s important to show that there are allies on campus and in the community and resources and just sort of general support,” Cordes said.

King said they hope to work with the University to receive increased funding and resources for future trans+ community events.

“It felt great to have a place for community and to learn from people that I have a shared identity with,” King said. “This event really represents trans joy at its finest, bringing people together, being able to exist as our truest forms of self, and continuing to learn and grow with people that care about us.”

—Staff Writer Darley A. C. Boit can be reached at darley.boit@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at vivi.lu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @vivielu_.

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