Transphobic Incident Revealed to be Misunderstanding

On March 2, a transgender flag—pictured above—was taken down and reported missing outside of the Queer Resource Center (QRC) serving the Claremont Colleges, a college consortium in California which includes Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges. Despite the initial assumption of the act being a result of transphobia and reported to Campus Safety, in a later email to the Claremont Colleges community, the QRC clarified that there was a misunderstanding, and that the act was not caused by transphobia.

In an email sent to students on Tuesday, Dr. Manny A. Diaz—the director of the QRC—wrote that on the evening the trans flag went missing, “the QRC immediately related this incident to professional staff and a Campus Safety report was filed. The initial assumption was that this act was the direct result of transphobia. Such acts of violence and discrimination are things the QRC works hard to combat at The Claremont Colleges.”

Later, the QRC staff found out that the act was not directed against transgender individuals:

“However, a few days post-incident, the trans flag was returned to the QRC with an apology. During this process, Pharalyn and I learned this incident was not an act of transphobia nor was anyone harmed in the process,” Diaz continued.

During the evening of the incident, some members of the Claremont Colleges community reacted in outrage; one person posted on Facebook asking the community to help find and identify those that took the flag labeling them as “bold a*s transphobes.” Another commenter stated “this is so ugly, y’all don’t deserve rights.”

Diaz continued, stating that “[i]n an attempt to respect the members of the community involved in this incident, we quietly informed the community of the misunderstanding, including QRC Graduate Assistants and Student Associates. However, it has come to our attention that our attempts to inform others that this was not a transphobic incident have not reached all members of our community to date. Therefore, please accept our apology in not making a more public statement about this incident sooner as our intention was to balance the needs of the community with the need to widely share that this was a misunderstanding.”

It is not clear what Diaz refers to when discussing the need to “balance the needs of the community” with the responsibility to provide the truth of the incident to the greater Claremont Colleges community, especially after serious accusations of transphobia had been made.

It was announced that the trans flag will be rehung in front of the Queer Resource Center in the near future.

Members of the Claremont Colleges rank among the most LGBT-friendly colleges in the United States, with accepting and tolerant student bodies.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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