Multicultural Resource Commons

Trans Day of Visibility Virtual Gallery

Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) falls on March 31st each year. This day is dedicated to celebrating trans and non-binary people for who they are. Today, The Multicultural Resource Commons (MRC) is highlighting a few of the trans and non-binary people at Oberlin College & Conservatory.

Reid LeBlanc (Any Pronouns) Picture of Reid

I got top surgery over Winter Term. I knew I would have this surgery since the day I learned I had been born female. It’s nice to finally be myself again.

I consider myself trans only because I needed this surgery and for no other reason. Because of this “transsexual” suits me better than “transgender.”

(Remember that we respect how others choose to refer to themselves, and that the people who are loud on social media are not representative of all humanity. We certainly do not call words we do not personally identify with dirty/offensive/slurs. That’s just mean and willfully ignorant. Thanks for coming to my ted talk…)

Sparrow Collins (They/Them)Two artworks, side by side. The first artwork is a painting on canvas depicting a pair of silver-and-white feathery wings extending diagonally from a black hole in the center of the painting. Fire is painted along the bottom edge up along the lower wing. Green vines reach up one side to meet three sets of silver chains, one of which is broken. The background of the painting is outer space, with various nebulae and starry clouds in pink, purple, blue, and black. The second artwork is a painting on canvas of a human torso, showing from the neck to above the waist and with the arms not shown, with skin color approximately matching that of a white person. Three large diagonal cuts have been made in the canvas, making slashes across the chest. These cuts have been widened and glued open, and the gaps filled in with clay. The clay and the inside of the slashes have been painted bright red, and red paint spatters across one side of the canvas.

I am a trans nonbinary person, and these are two works of art I made last year to express different parts of my relationship with gender and being trans. The first depicts things that I feel represent my gender in some way, and represent some of my experiences with gender. The second represents some of my experience with gender dysphoria.

Cecil / Newt Pulley (He/They)A picture of Cecil, sitting at a counter and drawing in a notebook. He is looking up at the camera and smiling. He is wearing a grey sweatshirt, has short brown hair, and rainbow glasses.

My name is Cecil or Newt, either one is great. I’m a transmasculine guy from Texas and no, I don’t hate it there. I’m a 3rd year Art History & GSFS double major, a Bonner Scholar, a Mellon Mays Research Fellow, and an amateur artist, radio engineer, and burlesque performer. I like usual trans things like werewolves, D&D, and dressing like a middle schooler. Today (March 31st) I have my consultation appointment for Testosterone, which is pretty funny and hopefully auspicious. One day I hope to be that cool trans professor that everyone wants to be their advisor, because the world needs more of those.

Sionainn Rudek (They/He)Sionainn, a white transmasculine person with short dark hair, is sitting in their room. They are wearing dark glasses, headphones, and a blue shirt. They are grinning into the camera for a #selfie moment.

Hi there, my name is Sionainn (They/He) and I am a 4th year Environmental Studies major here at Oberlin! I started transitioning when I was a senior in high school, but as one of two "out" trans kids at my 2,000+ high school, I didn't feel comfortable sharing my gender journey joys with many of my peers. When I got to Oberlin, gender expansiveness felt celebrated and encouraged in a way I was not accustomed to, and I felt held in a way I had wanted and needed when I initially began my transition. Now, almost four years later, I am emerging from this beautiful Oberlin cocoon as a confident, gentle yet powerful, compassionate transmasculine human being who knows when to set boundaries around my identity and when to share more vulnerable parts about myself. It's a delicate dance of self-care that Oberlin has helped me choreograph, and I feel a lot of gratitude for this space and the people who have helped me learn and grow. When I'm not defying gender norms, you can find me throwing at the pottery co-op, attempting to train for a big running race (wish me luck), or cooking in Tank co-op!

NiK Peavy (They/All)A headshot of NiK Peavy in a striped sweater.

I work in the Multicultural Resource Commons as the new Associate Director. In my position, I work closely with Katie Graham, our LGBTQ+ Fellow, to better support our queer and trans students here on campus. I am originally from a rural farm town in Central Georgia and ended up coming out as queer and trans during my time at my undergrad. Since coming out, I have been working within higher education to make the experience more welcoming for the next generation of queer and trans people. In my free time, I play in an all-queer D&D group and am currently learning how to play Magic. I really enjoy tabletop games (though I am still very new to the scene) and have not outgrown my pop-punk era. I am an educator and life-long learner at heart – I am always up for an info dump and am always down to chat!

Z Gutierrez (They/He)This picture was taken on a bus at the beginning of the school year for the GC2B #2bfirstdayfit Contest. I was able to win the title of "The Artisté" and enough store credit to buy two binders!

Hey, I'm Z and I am from Los Angeles, California. I have identified as transgender for about 6 years now and have been out to family and friends for 3 years. If you ask me about my gender identity or pronouns, I say "Uhhhhhh". Gender is a spectrum and I feel like I am a pendulum. I've been on HRT for two years now and am now gaining confidence in my own shin. Recently at Oberlin, I've become more playful with my gender expression through clothes, makeup, and on social media. Glad I can be in a community where I feel comfortable trying new things or retrying old. I'm just happy to be living my life as authentically as I can be. Happy Trans Day of Visibility!

Benny VanDerburgh (He/They) Benny (white masc person with brown, short hair) facing camera selfie-style with a sleeping tabby cat named Bruce in his arms.

I am the Assistant Director of Religious & Spiritual Life! I am also a trans person who came up in queer and lesbian spaces. I have chaplain training and a graduate degree in religion, and live in a queer interfaith family. I was raised and loved in the lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, way out east on the coast. If students of any religious or nonreligious orientation wish to seek counsel and care from a trans spiritual caregiver, please know my doors are open!

The Office of Spirituality & Dialogue celebrates trans lives. Trans living is uncomplicatedly blessed and beautiful, like all life - but there can be burdens put upon us outside of our control. Please know that whoever you are, for as long as you live, your dignity remains. I hope that trans students feel the pathmaking of their trans elders and predecessors as they choose their way.