Bender Library and LGBTQ+ affinity groups create community display celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility

All submissions by trans and nonbinary students to be showcased

Bender Library and LGBTQ+ affinity groups create community display celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility
Dupree’s library display in front of the Circulation and Course Reserve Desk.

Bender Library and other campus organizations opened a community display to honor trans and nonbinary students on campus Thursday for International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Lisa Dupree, a circulation service specialist at the AU Library, spearheaded the project and created it in lieu of recent anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the U.S.

Dupree said the project has been in the works since January, and every group they worked with was excited about the exhibit.

Dupree collaborated with AU Pride, the Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion and the LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group to get the display up and running.

Students can submit their art to an email address, and Dupree hopes this project will be something that students can continue to submit to for years to come.

“I just — I really, I really want like anyone who was like trans or nonbinary or like gender nonconforming like on campus, just like send what you got in, everything is welcome,” Dupree said.

Dupree plans to archive submissions into a website and streamline it into a digital database where people can view it online once the physical display goes away. The end date for the display is indefinite, but Dupree’s goal is for it to stay up for at least two weeks.

Dupree said everything submitted will be featured in the exhibit and all ideas and suggestions are welcome. They are looking for submissions from trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming artists. 

The exhibition includes student-submitted work, DVDs, books from the library and books from Dupree’s personal collection. They also hope to display the exhibit in a non-traditional way. Dupree wanted the items showcased in the exhibit to be ones that wouldn’t typically be shown in a library display.

The exhibit featured a zine by Noah Austin, a freshman in SPA, titled the “State of The Union.” Austin’s zine addressed his concerns about the “rights and safety” of transgender Americans. 

The display also has four small, colorful pictures with the phrases “let trans kids play,” “defend trans youth,” “let trans kids live” and “all trans youth deserve healthcare.”

Library displays are typically focused on items that are already cataloged and can be checked out, but most things in this exhibit won’t be coming from Bender Library’s collection. Dupree wanted the exhibit to celebrate and highlight local trans communities and organizations, and they hope to get people off campus and into the larger community, they said.

“I felt like if I could find like a space and an opportunity to do something and to like offer that to like other people that I was going to do that and it just all kind of came together,” Dupree said.

For Dupree, this exhibit is a chance for them to create a display for something bigger. 

“I don’t want this to be like my display, I want it to be a community display where I just found that we had space to offer it, and I’m just kind of like coordinating things,” Dupree said. “This isn’t mine. I would like this to be ours, especially since I’m like new on campus. I feel like it’s my duty to like figure out what [our] campus needs and then to offer part of a solution to try and fix that need.” 

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