Glendon Women & Trans Centre celebrates new name

The Glendon Women & Trans Centre, an autonomous student organization, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 24 to celebrate its new, more broadly inclusive name. Formerly known as the Glendon Women’s Centre, the new name reflects that the centre welcomes not just women, but also anyone who is transgendered or transsexual and, more broadly, all those whose gender identity or gender expression is at variance with their assigned sex.

Left: Kate Welsh, coordinator of the Glendon Women & Trans Centre, cuts the ribbon at the official celebration of the centre’s name change

“This is an important day for the centre because it fills a need on this campus which has not been fully addressed until now. Trans people are often marginalized by society in some of the most basic areas, such as housing, health care and education. By adding ‘trans’ to the centre’s name, we make it clear that we are providing a safe and positive space, not only for women, but also for transgendered, transsexual students, as well as advocating for them,” said Kate Welsh, the centre’s coordinator. “Trans and women’s rights go hand in hand – they are basic human rights. Bringing the fight for trans rights and women’s rights together can strengthen our communities and build new relationships. It can provide new insights and bring allies to fight oppression.”

On Dec. 6, the centre organized a commemorative program for the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Montreal Massacre and its victims, titled "A Call to the World to End Violence Against Women". The centre has a number of programs planned including a body image group, a clothing swap, movie nights and participation in the annual V-Day. Other projects include various activities for Women’s Month next March, and a petition for the campus goSAFE program operating hours to be reinstated to its former 2am time at Glendon.

The celebration was attended by Rosanna Furgiuele, Glendon associate principal of Student Services, and Aaron Doupe, manager of Student Affairs. Several representatives from York’s Centre for Human Rights were also in attendance, including community outreach coordinator Darren Edwards and Russell Pahl, a School of Social Work placement student.

Right: Glendon Women & Trans Centre members and supporters celebrate the centre’s name change

“Gender issues can get lost in a smaller setting and it’s great that Glendon is moving ahead on this,” said Edwards.

Pahl added, “The centre’s new name brings focus on marginalized groups, and advocating on their behalf is a very important feature.”

Jess Morris, a member of the centre, emphasized the importance of the new name. “Most people don’t know the meaning of ‘trans’. Including trans people in the name of the centre makes them feel accepted, included, not judged, and offers them a safe and comfortable space.”

The Glendon Women & Trans Centre is in D124 Hilliard Residence. It is in the process of creating a Web site with the help and participation of members Simone Samuels and Brittaney Caron. For more information, call ext. 88197.

Submitted by Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer