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Pride party unites community during Transgender Week of Awareness

Alex Perry and Alex Nacke laugh during the Trans Pride Party event on Nov. 15, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Gatton Student Center. Photo by Matthew Mueller | Staff

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies gathered at a transgender pride party in the LGBTQ+ Resources Office during Transgender Week of Awareness to celebrate and support the trans community.

Transgender Week of Awareness, Nov. 13-17, called for a week’s worth of events celebrating and shedding light on trans pride at the University of Kentucky, with one of those events being a transgender pride party, according to a social media post from UK LGBTQ* Resources. 

The party, hosted on Nov. 15, was organized by UK sophomore Alex Nacke.

“I think other people need to be able to believe that they’re safe here and they can be themselves. I think that we’re experiencing a lot of trans hate right now, and I feel like people should be able to just be themselves and to have fun and not have to worry about getting misgendered or mislabeled,” Nacke said. 

The event welcomed all members of the LGBTQ+ community, with many allies in attendance to show their support. 

Senior La’Dymon Key said she wanted to show up for the community as an ally. 

“Show your pride. Like, be prideful in who you are and everything that you do,” Key said. “Everybody deserves love and to be loved, and at the end of the day we’re all human and we all deserve respect.”

Key said that coming to events, talking to people and getting connected is a great way to support the trans community. 

“I think it’s very important to shed light on trans individuals for the simple fact of all the things going on in society as well, the disrespect that they face and all the different laws going on, they deserve to be supported and know that people support them and care about them,” Key said. 

The event included food, crafts, games and relaxation in a space where those who identify as transgender and allies could be in the company of friends and supporters.

Connor Adkis, Kennan Coy, Avery Watson, Avis Chen, and Madeline Lambert play Scrabble during the Trans Pride Party event on Nov. 15, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Gatton Student Center. Photo by Matthew Mueller | Staff

“I think [this event] means acceptance and feeling community,” Nacke said. “If you look around, everyone is just either talking or just sitting and enjoying themselves in a comfortable space where they can be themselves. I feel like people here should be able to be themselves in at least one space around Kentucky.”

Sophomore Madeline Lambert said she attended the event in support of her friends.

“The organizers of the event are being very thoughtful and inclusive of the activities, it mostly just feels very homey, and helps to make people comfortable that are looking for that comfortable space,” Lambert said.

Nacke said he encourages people to be mindful of their words even when there aren’t trans people present as a form of showing allyship. 

“I think it means that people start finally acknowledging that our community exists and that we are here, and we’ve always been here. I don’t want to shove it in people’s faces or for it to be obnoxious to anyone, but I feel like we need to be aware- people need to be aware of us in society,” Nacke said. 

Sophomore Bear Watkins also said he saw the event as a chance to show his support to the trans community. 

“To really be there for the trans community, show them they have someone to look to, someone that stands with them, someone that stands behind them, someone that will always be there for them, no matter what. Support the community, I’ll always be there for them and to support them,” Watkins said. 

Watkins said he wanted to show transgender individuals that despite what society may sometimes say, they’re loved and welcome to be themselves. 

“It really shows them that people care, that people see them and support them, let them know that there’s a place for them to be who they are, safely,” Watkins said. “To show them that they’re welcome on the camps, they’re safe here, regardless of what other people think, just give them a chance to feel safe.”

The Dinkle-Mas suite for LGBTQ* Resources is located in the Bill Gatton Student Center for “advising and supporting” students at UK, according to their website.

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