The Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (KSTEP), a group dedicated to providing education about transgender issues, discussed the transgender experience, how to speak about it, advocacy and personal empowerment Saturday in Memorial Union.
“It’s really important to provide information about what it means to be transgender in Kansas,” said Stephanie Mott, executive director of KSTEP.
KSTEP is a nonprofit organization that formed in 2010 and has given over 300 presentations throughout Kansas, according to KSTEP.org
The group is able to meet with universities, health centers and other organizations because of grants they received from the Transgeneration Fund and the Transjustice Funding Project. KSTEP has been awarded a total of $20,000 from the two groups, allowing them to host their workshops for free.
“Even though it seems like there’s a lot that’s against us, especially right now, there’s a lot of resources out there to help,” said Jay Pryor, a KSTEP presenter. “What’s available to us now versus what was available to us 16 years ago is night and day.”
Mott, along with three other presenters, shared their experiences, offered advice and spoke about the political issues affecting transgender people.
“In the United States today, once a month a transgender person is murdered because of who they are,” Mott said. “In the world, that happens about every other day and almost all of them (are) transgender women of color.”
Mott stressed the importance of being authentic about yourself.
“For attempted suicide (of transgender youth), the single most significant risk factor is invalidation of their identity,” Mott said. “You need to talk about the pain. You have to let people see what happens when you invalidate the identity of someone who is transgender.”
Mott also spoke about the recent political issues surrounding transgender people’s usage of the bathroom, tying it in with the information about identity and risks.
Currently, ESU has 25 gender inclusive restrooms on campus, according to Jason Brooks, the assistant dean of students for diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I think these will end up being topics of discussion over the next few months on how we can start to increase gender neutral restrooms here on campus,” Brooks said.
There are no plans affecting LGBTQ students, or transgender students in particular, that will be enacted this coming year, other than the current University Diversity and Inclusion plan.