Campus Life

Penn State launches first Transgender Visibility Week, Nov. 14-20

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will join universities and communities across the nation Nov. 14 as the University initiates its inaugural Transgender Visibility Week. The week's events complement the University's All In initiative.  

“This week’s events highlight Penn State’s commitment to diversity as we work to remove any barriers that impede the full participation and inclusion of Penn State’s transgender community across the University system, ensuring unfettered access to facilities and the very best in health care,” said Borja Gutiérrez, 2016-18 chair of the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity (CLGBTQE). 

University and community organizations will host an information exchange at the HUB-Robeson Center on Monday, Nov. 14, with a keynote address on transgender healthcare by Dr. Curtis Swagler of Penn State University Health Services. Additional events will include a lecture on transgender law, and a viewing and discussion of the PBS documentary Growing Up Trans. The week will conclude with Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.

Transgender Visibility Week is an opportunity to increase awareness and advance advocacy for transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues they face in their lives. Transgender Day of Remembrance occurs every Nov. 20 as a day to memorialize those who have been lost as a result of trans-phobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community. According to the FBI, members of the LGBTQ community are two times more likely to experience hate crimes than members of other minorities.

“Transgender Visibility Week is not only about the lives we have lost, but about bettering the lives of transgender individuals throughout our community,” said Stephanie Whitesell, chair of CLGBTQE’s Transgender Concerns Committee. “The Commission wants to highlight available resources and recognize transgender individuals in our community,” she added.

The week’s events, which are free and open to the public, include: 

  • Transgender Information Exchange/HUB Takeover, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, ground floor stage of the HUB-Robeson Center
  • Keynote Address: “Transgender Healthcare,” Curtis Swagler and Nora Maginnis, physican and nurse practitioner respectively at University Health Services, 5;30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, Foster Auditorium
  • PBS-Frontline: Growing Up Trans, documentary and discussion panel, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, Foster Auditorium (1:24:12 time length, Rating: NR)
  • “Transgender Law,” a talk by Dara E. Purvis, assistant professor of Law, Penn State Law School, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, 124 Sparks Building
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil, 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, steps of Old Main
  • Transgender Clothing Exchange, noon-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, Flex Theatre, HUB-Robeson Center. For anyone interested in donating clothing, the drop off locations will be 101 Boucke, (the LGBTQA Student Resource Center), 1606 Norma St., (University Mennonite Church), and 780 Waupelani Dr. (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County).
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance: Sunday, Nov. 20, vigil at Allen Street gates

For more information about Transgender Visibility Week, contact Stephanie Whitesell at 814-865-7691 or


Created in 1991, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity is an advisory group to the President of Penn State. The Commission works to improve the climate for diversity within Penn State by addressing issues affecting the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) members of the University community. The Commission, which includes as members Penn State administrators, faculty, staff and students from across the Commonwealth, examines current University policies and practices and initiates and promotes programs that will create a more equitable, supportive and safe environment for LGBTQ individuals. Follow the Commission on Twitter and Facebook.

A schedule of events for Transgender Visibility Week, Nov. 14-20. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 11, 2016