Emerson’s second annual transgender awareness week was, for the first time, co-sponsored by the athletics department, and featured a poetry reading by a transgender soccer player.
For the athletics department’s support of the events, held from Nov. 3–6, the NCAA awarded Emerson its third monthly Diversity Spotlight award, which comes with $500 to be used for its next diversity program.
Head athletic trainer Amanda Nicoles spearheaded the week’s events. At her former job at Pine Manor College, she said she worked with Tucker Garcia, a transgender soccer and lacrosse player who graduated in 2012. She invited Garcia to read his poetry during last week’s events.
“When you have one person in your life who has gone through it, it completely changes your entire perspective,” Nicoles said. “I got to watch my student-athlete, who was so beaten, insecure, troubled and scared when I met him, and I watched him perform poetry [Tuesday night], and I have never been more proud.”
The transgender awareness week, titled Unapologetically Confident, was highlighted by a keynote presentation on Nov. 5 by Kylar Broadus, the director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project and founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition. Justice Roe Williams, executive director of BodyImage4Justice, a nonprofit organization promoting body image and health and wellness, also spoke.
Emerson Athletic Director Patricia Nicol said she wanted her department to support the transgender awareness week because it was the right thing to do.
“Given the core values of Emerson of diversity and inclusion,” she said, “we wanted to support the core values of the college.”