Transgender Awareness Month: how MiraCosta College is supporting the trans community


The Nov. 19 virtual Trans Day of Remembrance Brunch featured keynote speaker Tiq Milan. Sanchez captured a moment of the event, during which MCC students and staff had meaningful conversations about the trans community and honored the lives of those taken by transgender violence.

Mia Sherman, Creative Editor

Last month was Transgender Awareness Month at MiraCosta College. Students, faculty, and Student Equity staff advocated for the trans community through visibility, training programs, and other accessible resources. Both during and after Transgender Awareness Month, MCC is attempting to create a safe space for trans and nonbinary students to embrace their identity.

An MCC student, 19-year-old Julieta Quirarte, is one of the people that has felt supported by the college.

“I had never been out as trans at a school before, so it was a new experience for me. I was relieved because MiraCosta had a lot of resources for trans students, so I felt really safe,” Quirarte said. “Every single teacher is so empathetic, which is not something I received throughout my life. I truly feel safe around my peers and teachers, that they know how to handle referring trans students to an advisor or counselor at MiraCosta.”

Some of the resources offered to trans and LGBTQIA+ students at MCC include academic counseling with LGBTQIA+ identified staff, mental health counseling, the Queer and Trans People of Color Scholarship, the Gender Sexuality Alliance club and the Prism Collective- a space for students to share their experiences in an affirming community.

Jordan Sanchez is an MCC alumna and current interim student service specialist for LGBTQIA+ Equity. She recommends a few steps that students can take to gain knowledge about and support the trans community at MCC.

“I will always recommend starting with the Pride Inclusion Training, you cover the history of the queer liberation movement and intersectional identity theories,” Sanchez said. “Go on your social media. There are so many accounts that are focused on LGBTQ topics or issues, and you can learn about them from an accessible platform.”

“It can be a quick learning tool to initiate that curiosity and show that you are ready to make those steps to become an accomplice,” Sanchez said.

Kristina Londy, program manager of Student Equity at MCC, offers insight into what it means to be actively involved in supporting the trans community.

“I want to emphasize the distinction between being an ally, and moving towards being an accomplice. When it comes to supporting the trans and nonbinary community, I think it is important to be intentional in our listening and centering trans voices. This is imperative in our work,” Londy said.

During Transgender Awareness Month, MCC offered a myriad of events for students, faculty and staff. The most recent events have included the Trans Week of Awareness advocacy campaign and the Trans Day of Remembrance Brunch with Tiq Milan, a trans speaker, writer and activist. Milan has been an advocate for the trans community for over 10 years and has spoken at Harvard, Stanford and Brown University. He is currently working on his memoir, “Man of My Design,” which will be published in Sept. 2022.

“Not every trans person has to do the work. The best thing you can do is be yourself. That is enough. To be trans, queer or nonbinary in this world and to have some joy, you should do that,” Milan said.

During the Trans Day of Remembrance Brunch on Nov. 19, Milan spoke about using social media to propel advocacy of trans folks.

“Media is not a toy, it is a tool for information. Information is more valuable than gold, it is really important,” Milan said. “If you are an advocate, an activist, use social media to tell the stories that aren’t being told. I do like social media because I want to see trans and nonbinary people living beautiful lives.”

Visiblity of the trans and queer community is also apparent in students’ courses as well, such as Quirarte’s English 100 class.

“I was really nervous because I had never taken a class in the U.S. before. One of the resources that the professor [Jah B Prescott] had for us in class was a book called ‘Reclaiming Our Stories.’ He listened to me, he read my assignment, got back to me and said how proud he was,” Quirarte said. “He said he could tell that I am a strong woman and that I am meant to share my story with people and change lives. That was really nice, and I have never been told that by a professor before.”

The LGBTQIA+ Equity team continues its work to support the trans community and serve students like Quirarte.

“It is great to see that advocacy from the staff, faculty and students, because we want dedicated people in different capacities working for that progress,” Sanchez said. “There is so much activity happening and connections being made so that we have a more visible and supported LGBTQIA+ community on campus. It is the cherry on top to see it being so well received from the college community.”

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