Campus Life

Transgender Week of Awareness offers opportunities for education, support, celebration

National Transgender Week of Awareness will feature daily events Nov. 13-19 designed to raise awareness, educate and celebrate the lives and contributions of transgender people.

The week’s events at OU are sponsored by OUtlet, the LGBTQ+ student organization at Oglethorpe, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA).

“Oglethorpe recognizes transgender people, and it’s our mission in the Office of DEI to affirm, support and advocate for them while helping our community have a greater awareness of trans identity,” said Dr. Laura Renée Chandler, vice president of DEI at Oglethorpe.

Guest speakers for the week include Tony Ferraiolo, author, life coach and philanthropist, who is the subject of the award-winning documentary “A Self-Made Man” and the author of the book series “Artistic Expressions of Transgender Youth.” He also hosted the A&E miniseries “Transitioning,” in which he coached three transgender young adults through social transition.

Dru Levasseur is the director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. As a leading figure in the LGBTQ+ equality movement for 25 years, 15 years in the legal profession, Dru has extensive experience in law, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing. He leads the LGBTQ+ Bar’s DEI Consulting Practice, the only LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting program designed specifically to enable the implementation of best practice standards for LGBTQ+ equity across law firms, law schools and companies.

Chanel Haley serves as gender policy manager for Georgia Equality and was featured on Project Q, Q Atlanta, the podcast. Her discussion topics range from her experience as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention to helping to change the culture of local law enforcement agencies.

The complete list of special activities for the week is as follows:

  • 2 p.m., Nov. 13, 2nd floor landing, Turner Lynch Campus Center. Welcome to Transgender Week of Awareness! Transgender Flag Unfurled – Welcome remarks by members of OUtlet and the vice president for DEI, Dr. Laura Renee Chandler.
  • 12 noon – 1 p.m., Nov. 14, Trustee Room, Turner Lynch Campus Center. Transitions Through Life: Notes on How to Make Substantive Changes – Lunch and Learn with Chanel Haley.
  • 6 p.m., Nov. 14, Philip Weltner Library Atrium, Lowry Hall. Hidden Bodies of Art – Lecture by John Daniel Tilford, Curator of Collections, OUMA; Adjunct Professor for COR 104 Explorations in Art & Culture from the LGBTQIA Perspective. Organized by Art Flow.
  • 7 – 9 p.m., Nov. 15, Earl Dolive Theatre, Philip Weltner Library, Lowry Hall. Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, 2020, Netflix documentary – Film screening followed by Q & A.
  • 1 – 2 p.m., Nov. 16, Cafeteria Hallway, Turner Lynch Campus Center. OUtlet Tabling: Genderbread and Gingerbread– Members of OUtlet tabling to give away information about gender and gender identity along with treats.
  • 7 p.m., Nov. 16, OUMA, Lowry Hall. Transology: Gender, Identity, and the Art Museum – Lecture by Elizabeth H Peterson, Director of OUMA, OUtlet advisor, Adjunct Professor, Member of the OU Diversity Taskforce, Member of the Art & Culture Commission of Brookhaven.
  • 7 p.m., Nov. 17, Philip Weltner Library Atrium, Lowry Hall. Beyond the Binary: A Journey to Self-Love and Acceptance – Tony Ferraiolo lecture/training.
  • 1:30 p.m., Nov. 18, Earl Dolive Theatre, Philip Weltner Library, Lowry Hall. A Self-Made Man, documentary film, directed by Lori Petchers, 2013, 57 minutes – Screening of the documentary about Tony Ferraiolo’s life followed by a Q & A with Tony Ferraiolo and Dru Levasseur.
  • 2 – 4 p.m., Nov. 19, Game Room, Turner Lynch Campus Center. Coloring with OUtlet – A relaxing afternoon just coloring and hanging out with members of the LGBTQIA+ campus group.
  • 6 p.m. (sunset), Nov. 20, Center of Quad. Transgender Day of Remembrance – Candle lighting and reading of the names of transgender persons who have lost their lives to violence and oppression. Moment of Silence. Alumni, staff, faculty, students encouraged to attend and to honor the lives of transgender persons. Flameless votives will be provided. LGBTQIA+ resources/support info available.
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20, Philip Welter Library, Lowry Hall. Reception and Cheer! – Gather in the library following the ceremony of remembrance for hot chocolate, pastries and fellowship with your friends and allies.

“This is an important week for us as a community here at Oglethorpe, and all students will have an opportunity to learn, grow and express their identity,” said Elizabeth Peterson, director of the OUMA and advisor to OUtlet. “The students have put together a meaningful series of events that demonstrates the diversity and understanding of our campus. It’s Oglethorpe at its finest.”

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