By Elizabeth Sekkes
On Tuesday, April 1, from 11-1 p.m., the Bridgewater State University GLBTA Pride Center hosted its annual event, the Rainbow Keynote 2014.
At each of these annual events, an inspirational speaker who is a part of the GLBT community speaks to students, as well as answers any questions which students may have.
This year, the 2014 Keynote speaker was Janet Mock, who is an African American transgender writer and activist.
“I was very happy with it,” said Amber Kosarick, a junior psychology major and a student worker at the Pride Center. “I thought that it was very informative, and I think her concern with intersectionality and underrepresentation of trans women of color is very important. People need to be educated on this topic.”
Mock is the author of the book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Moreover, Mock is the founder of the #Girlslikeus project, which is a space on Twitter for transgender women to find inspiration and hope.
Sara Comeau, a junior English major and student worker in the Pride Center, said the first portion of the event involved awarding students who best exemplified the mission of the Pride Center. Then Mock took the stage.
“The primary focus of what she talked about was how she became so prominent in the media lately,” said Comeau. “She talked a lot about her personal journey as both a transgender person and a woman of color.”
Mock also shared her personal revelations as to who she is as a woman in an often confused and sexist society.
“She talked about the way society perceives femininity as excess,” Comeau said. “And a huge part of her story was realizing that she had to own all these parts of her identity. And that owning those parts of her identity would be giving a voice to people who have been made invisible by society.”
Comeau said the event was inspirational and thought provoking.
“She taught the crowd a lot about intersectionality, and hopefully made people question their own privileges,” Comeau said.
Kosarick said she was happy with how the audience responded to Mock’s message.
“I was also pleased with how receptive the audience was,” Kosarick said. “We got some good comments and feedback.”
Mock also had words of advice for those who support the trans community.
“She said that to be a good ally for the trans community you have to listen,” Comeau said. “And don’t use your ally status in a combative way toward the community you’re trying to help. Acknowledge that being an ally is a learning process.”
Elizabeth Sekkes is The Comment’s News Editor. Email her at email@example.com.