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“We Will Not Be Erased” LGBTQ+ Community Demonstrates for Transgender and Non-Binary Rights

Jules Struck ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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A group of 30-40 students and some staff held a demonstration on Thursday, Nov. 1 to support transgender and non-binary people in response to the Oct. 21 leaked memo from the Trump administration to define gender at birth. 

Students shared personal stories on Britton Plaza and held signs with messages of support for transgender and non-binary people. The demonstration was organized by the Office of LGBTQ Services and spearheaded by Erica Lawrence, the director of the office.

The memo was “such an egregious and mean-spirited move by the administration that… we wanted to do something visible here on campus,” said Lawrence. “So, I got some of my students mobilized and we just came together and decided, ‘we need to do something.’”

Three Dickinson students opened the event with personal stories about being transgender or non-binary. One high-school student from Harrisburg spoke, and then people in attendance were invited to share. “We had a couple people come up, but not too many,” said Fiona Keane ’19, a pride coordinator for the Office of LGBTQ Services and an organizer of the event. The crowd finished the event with a chant. 

“I really wanted to have that show of solidarity for transgender and non-binary students on campus because it’s sort of a minority in a minority already, so I thought it was important that they be able to see that Dickinson does stand with them,” said Keane.

“People who this directly affects, or people who have close friends who this directly affects, those are the types of people who would come to something like this,” said Gregory Edwards ’20.

For Edwards, “there are a billion reasons” why he went to the demonstration. “The memo that was just released by the government… is really like a cherry on top of all the hateful things that the current administration has done and all of the action that has been taken against the LGBTQ+ community,” he said, “because if you go against one of us, you go against all of us.”

Keane said their first reaction to the news of the Trump administration’s memo was “anger, which is my reaction to a lot of things in politics these days.”

“A lot of times it feels like you’re in this hole and it’s just like, ‘how deep down does this hole go?’” said Keane, “Oh, it does go deeper.’” 

Edwards said the event “was very powerful.” 

“For anybody who exists on this campus and doesn’t have a lot of faith in the community of allies towards transgender and non-binary individuals, they would definitely feel heartened by that because it was very uplifting,” said Edwards. 

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“We Will Not Be Erased” LGBTQ+ Community Demonstrates for Transgender and Non-Binary Rights