Campus & community

Celebrating Transgender and Nonbinary Empowerment Month

This month asks us to do what we can to amplify commitments that support, activate, celebrate, and uplift Trans and Nonbinary liberation

a person holds a heart-shaped sign that reads
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Protestors march against a bill restricting transgender girls from sports teams in Pierre, South Dakota on Thursday, March 11. (Toby Brusseau/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)

Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion Dania Matos and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton sent the following message to the campus community on Tuesday:

The Divisions of Equity and Inclusion and Student Affairs, along with allied members of the UC Berkeley community, recognizes that November is Trans and Nonbinary Empowerment Month. This month asks us to slow down, despite how hectic our schedules are, and celebrate the wins and brilliance of Trans and Nonbinary folks across campus and beyond. And, because there is still transformative work to be done, this month also asks us to do what we can to amplify commitments that support, activate, celebrate and uplift Trans and Nonbinary liberation.

The GenEq Team, including Director of LGBTQ+ Advancement & Equity Em Huang (they/them), Assistant Director of Student Programs & Leadership Joanna Villegas (they/them), and the GenEq Intern Collective, shared a community love letter in their recent newsletter. We were so moved by it, we wanted to share it with you today as a way to inspire more messaging, love, and care like this:

Dear Community, 

This November, we are celebrating Trans and Nonbinary Empowerment Month at GenEq. Many of you may be familiar with Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance, both aiming to increase visibility and knowledge about the daily, systemic, and sociocultural challenges that Trans people and communities endure. As we endeavor to raise awareness, we know that learning about Trans identities and respecting pronouns is merely a starting point in practicing allyship, one that cannot be limited to a single month. Our Trans and Nonbinary communities are calling for, and deserve, more. 

Trans and Nonbinary Empowerment Month is a reclamation of our agency, embodiment, belonging, and future. We reject the false notion that our identities are up for debate in a world that tries to dehumanize us. We challenge the idea that Trans identities and experiences are new by uplifting our community cultural hxstories that run deep across time and place. We affirm that we do not need to be visible or legible to the cisgender gaze to be valid and that the diversity of our identities, expressions, and experiences is beautiful in all its forms.

By choosing empowerment, we center and celebrate the many ways we love, uplift, heal, and fight for ourselves and each other. Trans and Nonbinary communities have worked tirelessly to equip each other with resources, tools, and possibilities that cultivate a collective reimagination of life rooted in our inherent rights for agency and autonomy. We are not just tokens of bravery and strength – we are so much more than the harm we experience, including the inherent violence of having to present our lives as evidence, learning, or education for others. When we lean into our power, we can create the spaces we yearn for – to delve into our joy, celebrate what we’ve birthed through survival, and reaffirm the truth that we deserve not only to survive, but to thrive. 

Dear community, we are beautiful, brilliant, and multidimensional. We love who you are and who we are becoming. The work we do for ourselves is intertwined with our collective movement towards liberation and justice for all communities. As we create new realities grounded in autonomy and agency over our own lives, we embody our Transcestors’ dreams. Let’s build our futures of Trans liberation together. 

GRLN Policy Update

>The Gender Recognition and Lived Name (GRLN) policy ensures that all students, employees, alumni, and affiliates are identified by their accurate gender identity and lived name on university-issued identification documents and in UC’s information systems by providing guidance on the collection and reporting of gender identity, lived name and sexual orientation. Please read more about the policy and how we are implementing it.

Gender Inclusive Restrooms On Campus

Recently the UC Gender Inclusive Facilities policy was updated to provide campuses greater controls over how restrooms are designated, specifically, the university will have greater leeway to create inclusive facilities, including gender inclusive facilities, that better reflect our campus needs and values.  We are close to finalizing the campus process for requesting conversions for gender inclusive restrooms. We are currently remapping restrooms on campus to create an updated restrooms map and website.

How UC Berkeley Became a National Leader in Trans Care

Earlier this summer, the Berkeley News Team shared a story about the range of gender affirming health care services and providers that are available through the Transgender Care Team at University Health Services. The interdisciplinary team includes representation from student leaders, offering high quality, culturally competent health care to Trans and Nonbinary students.

Apply to The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities at Cal

The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities at Cal (CAC-LGBTQ+) is seeking applications for membership to the 2022-23 year. CAC-LGBTQ+ is a standing committee for the Chancellor and other campus administrators, comprising UC Berkeley staff, faculty, graduate/undergraduate students, alumni, and ex-officio representatives. To promote an affirming and inclusive campus environment, the committee identifies, analyzes, and advises the Chancellor and senior administration on the needs and concerns of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer faculty, staff, students, alumni, and affiliates at UC Berkeley.

Transgender and Nonbinary Empowerment Month Events, Student Groups, & Resources

There are lots of opportunities to build, nurture, and deepen your community connections this month.

  • Are you looking for a space to decompress, connect with resources, and be in community? Head to Unit 3 Residence Hall on November 17 from 3 until 7 p.m. for a Trans & Nonbinary Community Wellness Space.
  • November 20 marks Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), and the GenEq Team is hosting all-day activities to honor TDOR on November 18th, including an altar building and roundtable on Trans and Nonbinary advocacy and organizinglet them know you plan to join in!
  • On November 30, Trans and/or Nonbinary folks can perform, screen, or showcase their art at the Trans & Nonbinary Stories: Poetry & Art Open Mic. The location of the event is being finalized, but it will start at 5 p.m.; an RSVP for the event is helpful, but not required. And, if you require an accommodation or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please email Joanna Villegas with as much advance notice as possible.

In addition, learn about ongoing resources and initiatives that support Trans and Nonbinary communities on campus. The Multicultural Community Center is a student-led space that strives to integrate student-driven and community-oriented management, decision-making, and visioning in all of its work. It serves as headquarters for our Trans Student Wellness Initiative: a network of supports and services for Trans and Nonbinary students. Learn about accessing Trans and Nonbinary inclusive health care at the Tang Center. Please bookmark and share GenEq’s online roundup of Transgender resources for staff, faculty, and students.

There are several Transgender, Nonbinary, Queer, and allied student organizations (RSOs) to get involved with. The Queer Alliance Resource Center is one of UC Berkeley’s oldest student organizations, established in 1969 shortly after the Stonewall Riots. The Artistic Nerds 4 Theatre InclusivityAro/Ace Space at BerkeleyBear ClosetCal Queer & AsianLavender Alliance at BerkeleyCoalition for Diversity at Berkeley LawQueers in Computer Science and EngineeringSexual Orientation & Gender Advocacy ProjectOut for Business at BerkeleyThe UNITY Resource CenterOut in Science, Technology, Engineering, and MathematicsGia MagQueer GradsOur MonologuesQueers United in Revolutionary SubversionQueer and/or Women’s Anime Association; and Queering Public Health are other RSOs to consider. Staff and faculty looking for a community can connect with LavenderCal.

We are excited to collectively recognize and celebrate Transgender and Nonbinary Empowerment month. We honor and value our Transgender and Nonbinary students, staff, faculty, alumni, and broader community members and are committed to co-creating a university where everyone can thrive.

This CalMessage was written in partnership with Billy Curtis, Em Huang, Elisa Diana Huerta, and Joanna Villegas. The Divisions of Equity & Inclusion and Student Affairs offer deep gratitude to this network of folx who contributed their insights and expertise.