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Advocate and activist Chastity Bowick keynote speaker for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Diversity & Inclusion Office event raises awareness, calls for action

By Sandra Gray

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

November 22, 2021

The UMass Chan Medical School community participated in the worldwide Transgender Day of Remembrance with an event featuring activist, civil rights leader and transgender health advocate Chastity Bowick. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies (LGBTA) Committee of the Diversity & Inclusion Office hosted the virtual event as part of its Centering the Margins series on Friday, Nov. 19.

Chastity Bowick

“As a transgender woman of color, I know firsthand the systematic oppression placed upon us,” said Bowick, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Emergency Fund.  “As an activist, what I take pride in is that we are saving lives by empowering others to stand for change.”

The world marks Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 to recognize the lives that have been lost to murder and suicide due to anti-transgender violence over the past year. The transgender community experiences among the highest levels of inequity in employment, housing and health care.

Bowick shared her own story of rising above discrimination, misunderstanding, harassment, ridicule, and emotional and sexual abuse. Now the director of the Transgender Emergency Fund for low-income and homeless transgender people in Massachusetts, she is dedicated to generating resources and support to help other transgender individuals.

“Our priority is housing,” she said. “Transitional housing saves lives.”

Bowick concluded with a moment of silence, “for everyone taken from us too soon but not forgotten.”

The LGBTA Committee supports LGBT faculty, staff, students and allies in the UMass Chan community and promotes a community of inclusion through educational, cultural and social programs.

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UMass Chan Medical School creates affinity groups to support faculty and staff of color
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