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Trans groups to celebrate awareness month

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In celebration of Transgender Awareness Month, the Utah Pride Center and Transgender Education Advocates of Utah are hosting a series of activities through the month of November. From a candlelight vigil, to movie screenings and art shows, the celebration isn’t just designed for transgender and gender nonconforming people, but also allies and those interested in learning more. The month’s activities culminate at the Genderevolution 2012: Gender Apocalypse conference on Nov. 17 at Salt Lake Community College, 9750 S. 300 West, Sandy, Utah.

“We are offering a full slate of activities throughout the month that focus on a variety of issues,” said Liz Owens, transgender program coordinator for the Utah Pride Center. “We really want to discuss some important issues and want to encourage everyone to attend, not just trans-identified people.”

Although many may not identify as trans or gender queer, there are so many Utahns that don’t fit the specific gender roles, or gender binary descriptions, she said. Whether it’s a man who wears pink shirts and girl jeans or a woman who normally wears pants and a T-shirt, the conference will explore specific gender roles and the traditional gender binary codes.

Other activities include a kickoff party on Nov. 1, a screening of the film, TRANS and an art exhibition of works by transgender artists and other trans themes. Whether participants identify as gender queer, trans, allied or just curious, the events are open to everyone and most are free, Owens said.

“I can only speak from the experience of talking with others, but I know that being trans in Utah can be difficult. The activities are a perfect time to meet people, find out important information and just participate in something bigger than yourself,” she said. “We will address some of the most important issues facing trans people, from changing gender markers on identification to health and safety.”

For a full lineup of activities and information or to register for the conference early, go to utahpridecenter.org.

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