By Elisa Villanueva @bbelisacats
Balloons flying in the air, tears falling down faces and signs held high with pride. The quad was quiet and peaceful, but a stand was being made.
On Monday, March 6, members of the Las Positas community gathered together in a campus-wide walkout to show support for transgender rights.
The walkout was hosted by the Queer Straight Alliance and the Peace and Social Justice Club. Those who participated met in the quad and gathered around in a circle while various posters and balloons were being passed around. Members of the QSA held up a transgender pride flag as different trans allies spoke about the issues harming trans rights.
Sarah Peterson, a representative of Congressman Eric Swalwell, read off a letter written by members of congress to send to President Trump. In the letter, congressmen asked that President Trump reverse his decision regarding the interpretation of Title 10 of the 1972 Department of Education Amendment. This amendment involves the discrimination of sexes being able to use whichever school facilities they feel comfortable with.
“We ask you that you (Trump) and your members of administration meet with transgender students and their families who have relied on this guidance for a safe learning environment and hear their stories about what it means to be transgender in school,” Peterson read.
Peterson went on to share statistics of transgender students who did not have a good learning environment while their rights were being tested.
“This action (by President Trump) sent the wrong message, a very dangerous message to transgender youth and their peers,” Peterson read.
Jennifer Snook, a transgender female student and columnist for The Express, shared that anyone who wants to talk or has questions about what is going on politically can talk to her.
“We just want to live like anyone else in the country, like anyone else here,” Snook said. “We are being prevented from doing that by people who don’t know us.”
Lucas Hergert, an ethics professor and a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, spoke about religious people who supported trans rights.
“There are many, many people of faith who are calling for equality and justice when it comes to LGBT issues,” Hergert said.
“People don’t get what these kinds of laws and rules and these decisions do,” Hergert said, “But it’s not just a rule or law or a decision, it is a subtle and sometimes not so subtle way of chipping away at people’s feeling that they have worth and dignity.”
Amy Leona who is a member of the QSA shared stories of several transgender women who have been killed this year. After each story, Leona would release a balloon into the air which represented each woman who was killed. At the end Leona released two balloons to represent all trans women who could be killed this year due to hate and discrimination.
As the balloons drifted away, Peace and Social Justice advisor Kisha Turner gave a final call for unity. She pleaded for equal rights and opportunities for all genders, regardless of the one someone was born with.