Transgender Training Institute Enlightens Students on Creating Affirming Spaces

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Dr. Mark Levand trains students on labels related to transgender people. TORCH PHOTO/JON-PAUL DEVETORI

The Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted “Creating Spaces for Transgender and Non-Binary College Students: Student Session” at the Inclusivity Resource Center in Sun Yat Sen on Wednesday, Feb. 12. The event was presented by the Transgender Training Institute (TTI). The TTI trainers were Dr. Eli R. Green (founder of TTI) and Dr. Mark Levand. 

Having hosted many transgender training sessions at St. John’s in the past, TTI continued facilitating this educational conversation last Wednesday, hosting three sessions in one day: two for St. John’s employees and one for students. TTI also went to the St. John’s Staten Island Campus last Thursday, Feb. 13. 

According to the bio provided by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, “TTI is an educational consulting company providing training and consulting services by Transgender and non-binary individuals and communities. TTI works with K-12 schools, colleges and universities, social service and medical providers, and corporations to help create more transgender-affirming environments and services.”  

Green and Levand presented the training to students and helped explain all the terms and meanings. One of the first exercises done as a group was to pair definitions to terms that were color-coded. Levand went over the definitions of terms such as “transgender” and “non-binary.” After each definition, Levand paused to answer questions from students and then continued on to the next definition. 

Students were challenged with color-coded notes to pair definitions with terms. TORCH PHOTO/JON-PAUL DEVETORI

Spectrum President Andy Ma attended the event as well. “I do think that the trans community should have the opportunity to speak and have their voice heard about concerns they want to share,” he said.

Many students shared their experiences relating to transgender and other LGBTQ topics and asked one another many questions throughout the entire discussion. After the definitions and discussion phase of the training, a documentary video was played that portrayed the experiences of transgender people.

Green and Levand shared their final thoughts about the video and answered the remaining questions from the students. Levand said, “I think it’s really important that people get as much information as they can.” When asked if Universities should focus on training students about transgender topics, Levand said “[When] focusing on accepting and loving students … Yes, all Universities, in general, should start learning on accepting others as individuals.”

Many students said they enjoyed the training and learned many new definitions and how to better accept individuals.

“This event was important for me to have because students and faculty should have the opportunity if they choose to, and I think it’s fantastic to have a formal training about trans topics that a lot of places on campus do not have the ability to host,” Ma said.