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International Transgender Day of Visibility commemorated in Luzerne County

Newswatch 16's Claire Alfree spoke with students at Wilkes University about why it's important that this day be observed.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Wilkes University's campus now flies a transgender flag for everyone in downtown Wilkes-Barre to see.

Thursday's flag-raising ceremony celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility.

"Having something up there serves as just a reminder to everyone around that trans people are welcome, that trans people of valid, the trans people all hear it's huge," said Claire Wynne, Wilkes University senior.

In addition to the flag-raising, students who are a part of Wilkes' gender sexuality alliance shared their own stories about being members of the transgender community. 

"It's taken a lot of work for people like me for myself and other Trans individuals to be able to come out with our stories and as Trans, especially because of the safety concerns," said Henry Jurgiewicz, Wilkes University senior.

The Gender Sexuality Alliance at Wilkes University works to educate students about the importance of having a safe space to talk about the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

"If you're in the closet, walking around and just seeing that rainbow flag that says on a teacher's door, knowing this is a safe space that alone can change things, that alone can change your life," said Cas Schiller, Wilkes University first-year student.

Professor Helen Davis says Wilkes University goes the extra mile to make the campus inclusive for all, and the students spearhead most of the initiatives.

"They care that much about trying to make sure that we're inclusive to as many people as possible. They put themselves on the line for people they don't know yet, for students who aren't here yet, for community members if they don't know because they know that this is important," Davis said.

Wilkes University's gender sexuality alliance plans to put on more events like this in the future.

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