Community members speak on supporting trans students


Zoe Brunton

Students and community members speak at the Breaking the Silence event on Monday.

Aidan Gunn, Reporter

Student and faculty members of the LGBTQ+ community at AACC told a campus audience on Tuesday about their personal experiences during an event called “Breaking the Silence.”

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman attended the event to voice his support for the transgender community.

The goal of the event was “to raise awareness of what’s going on right now,” professor Forrest Caskey, the event’s organizer, said. “The rights that are being taken away from trans people, and then what we can do to help support them.”

Caskey is the adviser for the Genders and Sexualities Alliance, a student club at AACC, and the interim coordinator for inclusive excellence.

Members of the organization Annapolis Pride also attended the event. 

“We’re here to support all LGBTQ+ people in Anne Arundel County,” Joe Toolan, the chair of Annapolis Pride, said. “As somebody who grew up in Anne Arundel County and went to school here, I know that there’s not always good representation for LGBTQ+ people. … I see it as a way to kind of say, ‘Hey, we’re here, and we’re supporting you, and you’re valid.’” 

The event included an eight-member  panel of trans and queer students  and teachers from Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

 “it’s hard to be what you’ve never seen,” Willa Hoard, a teacher at Annapolis High School, said. “Being the first person to do a thing is always hard,” Hoard, who has taught in the county for 16 years, said. “So the more visibility there is, the more that opens younger people’s eyes to actually having possibilities in their future. To be able to imagine a future where they can fly.”

Hoard said her favorite part of the event was the sense of family in the room. 

“Honestly, just hearing other queer people’s perspectives in the county is always a treat,” Hoard said. 

Rabiyatou Bah, a first-year engineering student and a candidate for Student Government Association president, said she enjoyed the event. 

“A lot of events like these are part of our diversity training,” for SGA members, Bah said. “I’ve been to quite a few [events] this semester.”

Panel member Levi Walsh, a first-year geophysics student, said the college has a “great” queer community.

“I came from a Catholic school,” Walsh said. “So by comparison, this school is amazing.”

This article has been updated.