Speak Up, Speak Loud, Speak Proud

I am an activist. 

If these are the words you use to describe yourself then you might be one to believe that it is essential to fight for what is right. Until recently, I was completely ignorant to the struggles of other minority groups. 

The two most defining aspects of my identity are female and Latina. My entire life I’ve found myself working extra hard to get to where I am today. I’ve had to fight my way in this world as a female dominated by male culture and as a minority dominated by white culture. If you’re anything like me, you feel a strong desire to participate in social issues and you do anything you can to support those around you. But again, if you’re anything like me, sometimes you don’t know how to take action against issues, especially when you are not directly affected by them.

“What do you know about the transgender community?” 

When I started interning for a company that targets helping trans people, it hit me. I knew almost nothing about the LGBTQ community. I thought to myself, how dare I call myself an activist for social change when the trans community was completely off of my radar. 

In 2017, CU Boulder was ranked as one of the top 50 LGBTQ inclusive universities [CQ:https://www.colorado.edu/today/2017/06/27/cu-boulder-gains-national-recognition-lgbtq-inclusive-university]. While contemplating my former lack of regard for the LGBTQ community, I began to ask myself, why do I attend a school as inclusive as CU but still know little to nothing about the transgender community? 

With the countless amounts of flyers put up throughout CU’s campus, tables set up in the UMC, and events and fairs that take place almost everyday, it can be hard to keep up with everything CU has to offer. If you are like me, confused and unsure where to find the exact resources you are looking for, a quick Google search might help narrow down your options.

With the campuses 11 different support groups [CQ: https://www.colorado.edu/gsc/student-groups] including Bring Your Own Gender (BYOB), Boulder Trans and Genderqueer Support Group, Queer and Trans People of color, you don’t have to look too far to find a group that supports the community of Boulder’s trans students.

If you feel as if you can’t keep up with all the names and fear to misgender someone, you are not alone. It wasn’t until I started working with VoxPop that I realised the importance of pronouns and how much bigger the issue is than I first assumed.

Aside from the more common pronouns she/he/they, I had no idea that others like zie/zim/zis and ve/ver/vers even existed. 

 Is it all really a big deal even though your not affected by it? Yes. It is a huge deal. In today’s world it is almost impossible to be completely unaffected by the LGBTQ community. Chances are you have a friend, family member, classmate, professor, or coworker who belong to the LGBTQ community and in this way you are affected by it. I realised it was time for me to step out of the dark and open to my eyes to the real struggles trans people face.

It’s easy to hate typical first day of class icebreakers. What is your name? Where are you from? What is your major? What are your pronouns? Something I once thought was silly obvious question, but now understand the importance of asking and not assuming.

Since then, I’ve become much more conscious about asking people their preferred pronouns and remembering to use them. When in doubt, it’s always okay to ask questions.

Though I don’t know much about trans people in gender, I can understand how one of the many struggles they face is issues with their identity. However, one of the most obvious struggles was one that I completely overlooked was their voice. Trans people changing their voice was such an obvious struggles I failed to realized.VoxPop opened up my eyes to an issue I didn’t even realize existed. Eva is the world’s first transgender voice training app [CQ: https://exceptionalvoiceapp.com/]. When I first came across the app, it was something like I’ve never seen before, and with the giant trans community found in Boulder I thought, why isn’t this app more popular? This app not only for trans people, but also people like me. People who want to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. So if you’ve ever asked yourself, how can I help? Start by doing your research and find little ways in which you can help such as spreading the word of the Eva app and giving your support for giving transgender people a voice.