November is Transgender and Nonbinary Empowerment Month

November 1, 2023

Dear campus community,

November is Transgender and Nonbinary Empowerment Month, which also encompasses Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance. To our transgender and nonbinary community members: your joy, knowledge, and multidimensional experiences add vibrance to our Berkeley community and we celebrate you. Your presence and contributions inspire and motivate us to create an environment where everyone feels valued and secure, however they identify. This month, by focusing on empowerment, we center the many ways that trans and nonbinary communities love, uplift, heal, and fight for a future of liberation and justice

As we continue to uplift and empower, we must also acknowledge and recognize the context our communities are contending with. We honor the lives of trans and nonbinary community members that have been lost to violence and discrimination. We denounce hateful and discriminatory rhetoric and legislation and the immense impact it has on our community. Our collective commitment to affirming and protecting the rights of trans and nonbinary communities to exist and thrive remains steadfast. 

We encourage all to explore the resources, advocacy groups, and support networks available to our trans and nonbinary community members, including the newly updated Inclusive Restrooms Map, Gender Recognition and Lived Name Policy, and Accessing Trans and Nonbinary Inclusive Health Care at the UHS Tang Center. Additionally, there's the new Transition Care Intake Form, which serves as a valuable resource for connecting UC Berkeley students with trans care resources. It provides guidance on accessing gender-affirming clothing, requesting gender-affirming materials, and seeking financial support for gender-affirming medical procedures. UC Berkeley is also home to several organizations that help to foster inclusivity and support for trans and nonbinary campus communities: 

  • Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq): Serves as UC Berkeley's inclusive campus hub around gender and sexuality, offering resources, support, educational programs, and leadership initiatives for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to foster a welcoming and inclusive Cal experience.

    • Trans Student Wellness Initiative: A student-led and community-centered collaboration between GenEq and the Multicultural Community Center that aims to support the holistic wellness and retention of trans and nonbinary students at UC Berkeley through community building events, resource distribution, and advocacy.

  • Queer Alliance Resource Center (QARC): A student-run organization in charge of providing social, educational, and safe sex programming for the queer and trans community on campus, also acting as an umbrella organization for all active queer/trans student organizations on campus. QARC is one of the oldest student orgs on campus and one of the oldest queer student orgs across the country, and works at the forefront of this movement to foster a culture of acceptance and celebration.

  • Transgender Students at Cal (T-Cal): A student organization providing a vital platform for transgender and nonbinary students, offering a supportive network and resources for navigating campus life. The organization actively promotes awareness and understanding of transgender experiences and challenges.

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Advocacy Project (SOGA): A Graduate Assembly Project that seeks to improve the lives and experiences of queer and gender-diverse graduate students at UC Berkeley, led by the SOGA and Trans & Gender Diverse Advocacy Project Directors who serve as advocates to address specific needs and concerns of the community to ensure their success in higher education and beyond.

  • LavenderCal: A crucial network for LGBTQ+ faculty and staff, fostering a supportive and affirming workplace environment. Through various initiatives and events, it champions inclusivity and diversity within the UC Berkeley community.

  • Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Communities at Cal: A committee advocating for an inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals at UC Berkeley. The committee has actively engaged in initiatives, policy reviews, and community concerns, driving significant positive change for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. 

Throughout the month, we invite you to a series of events. These include the Trans Student Wellness Initiative Carnival of Care (Nov. 1), MCC Trans and Nonbinary Open Mic (Nov. 3), SUPERB concert featuring nonbinary Sudanese artist Dua Saleh (Nov. 10), Trans Health Panel (Nov. 15), QT Homecoming (Nov. 17), Trans Day of Remembrance Healing Grief Space (Nov. 20), and the Trans Clothing Swap & Community Dinner (Nov. 30). Clothing donations for the clothing swap are being collected at QARC from Nov. 1-17. 

Our journey forward is centered on advocacy, learning, and honoring our diverse experiences. Some starting points in practicing allyship are learning about trans identities and history, respecting pronouns, and for those interested in addressing political, legal, and social violence impacting trans and nonbinary communities, we encourage you to think thoughtfully about ways to participate in upcoming elections. By continuing to advocate for a more inclusive future, we pave the way for a stronger, more empowered campus community. 

We extend our gratitude to the folx who contributed their invaluable insights and expertise to this CalMessage: Billy Curtis, Joanna Villegas, Nilo Banos, Simran Ruta, Amani Zami Truth, and August Davis. Your continued support and engagement play a pivotal role in shaping a more equitable and inclusive campus for all.

In unity and celebration,

Dania Matos
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion 

Stephen C. Sutton 
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 

Em Huang
Director of LGBTQ+ Advancement & Equity, Gender Equity Resource Center

Victoria Plaut 
Vice Provost for the Faculty

Eugene Whitlock 
Chief People and Culture Officer

To help create an environment that lives up to our Principles of Community, we will send regular messages to acknowledge various heritage months and holidays. While we won't include every month or holiday, we will make an effort to ensure members of our community feel represented. Additionally, will often post articles highlighting people, programs, and research that align with these heritage months and holidays. 

This message was sent to all staff, faculty, and students.

If you are a manager who supervises UC Berkeley employees without email access, please circulate this information to all.