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TaG hosts vigil for Trans Day of Remembrance

Grinnellians+gathered+in+Stonewall+Resource+Center+%28SRC%29+to+share+in+grief+and+solemn+mourning.
Zach Walsh
Grinnellians gathered in Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) to share in grief and solemn mourning.

The student organization Trans at Grinnell (TAG) hosted a candlelight vigil in the Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) to commemorate International Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

At 6 p.m. on Nov. 20, the vigil began as nearly 40 students, staff and faculty members gathered in the SRC to share baked goods and drinks. Once attendees had settled in, TAG co-leaders Rowan Hutchinson `24 and Oliver Schoenborn `24 handed out candles and photographs of the transgender people lost to acts of violence in the past year. Attendees volunteered to go around the room reading the nearly 400 names of those who have died since Oct. 1, 2022. Students then taped up the distributed photographs around the walls of the SRC. The event concluded with students collaborating to create a mural poster with images of those lost, adding their own art to decorate the poster and commemorate those being mourned.

Trans at Grinnell, originally called Trans Advocacy Group when it was founded in 2006, used to be more activism-oriented according to Schoenborn and Hutchinson. However in its current iteration, TAG’s principal aim is to provide a safe and supportive community to trans, nonbinary and gender-questioning Grinnell students. 

Schoenborn said, “Especially in the past couple of years post COVID, a lot of queer people on campus are burnt out. With what’s going on in terms of the attack on trans rights and gay rights across the country, it can be really hard to manage what’s going on while also advocating for ourselves at the College. So right now, it’s about recovering from what’s happening in the world and finding community in rural Iowa.” 

Hutchinson described the various resources TAG offers students in conjunction with the SRC, which includes holding the organization’s weekly meetings in the space. Hutchinson said,  “The SRC offers counseling consultations. They have a gender affirming care items program … I really want them to know about it because you can get two articles of clothing or gender-affirming products per semester.” Hutchinson also noted that TAG can help students take measurements in the SRC and has “informally given a lot of haircuts.” 

Morgan Smith `26, one of the three student coordinators for the space, also described the SRC’s Q*ueries program, where queer staff facilitate a talk about queer issues and identity twice a quarter.

Micho Adler, assistant director of intercultural affairs and LGBTQIA+ student specialist, said their role is to “Just support all the queer students on campus, and I work with students to find out what their needs are, and then I am a liaison in between students and all the red tape to help them get the things that they need.” Adler helped organize the vigil by providing funding and refreshments. 

Hutchinson, Schoenborn and Adler all said that they wanted to balance the heaviness of the day with a sense of security and community for students who were struggling. 

Adler said, “I felt like I needed to have them be able to move on with something joyful. So having artmaking, having food and then having the memorial available for the rest of the month is important, and I think it helps.” 

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About the Contributors
Bea Crist, Staff Writer
Beatrice is a third-year English and theatre double major from Durham, North Carolina. Academically, she enjoys exploring the intersections of history and literature. When she’s not writing, she loves listening to Gillian Welch, discovering new foods to put Cholula on, and impulsively painting her belongings.
Zach Walsh, Staff Photographer
Hey y'all! My name is Zack, I'm a third year, and my pronouns are he/him. I am a photographer here at the S+B and enjoy taking photos. If you have any proposals for photos events or opportunities, feel free to reach out!
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