BY TAYLOR ZARE | Guest Columnist One may begin to see bracelets and buttons with the phrase “#IllGoWithYou” around campus and wonder what these mean.
“I’ll Go With You” is a campaign for allies of transgender people so they can go into bathrooms and other spaces where transgender, genderqueer, or other gender nonconforming people may feel scared, threatened or concerned with their safety. Though a trans individual may feel confident enough to stand up for themselves if harassed in a gendered space, not all do. The #IllGoWithYou pledge is that people with passing privilege (appearing as a specific gender) offer to be a bathroom buddy, a watch-your-back person, a stand-up-for-you person.
Many people may not consider this necessary but it is a common occurrence for many individuals to be harassed in this situation. It goes from slurs being said to transgender individuals, to transphobic jokes in media to even UMD’s campus climate towards transgender individuals. All of these factors and many more make this campaign necessary and empowering for transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming individuals.
“I’ll Go With You” says “I will have your back. I will be your witness.” Though there isn’t always access to a gender-neutral bathroom or space, this campaign invites us to protect those who experience violence every day. I refuse to be a bystander. I will stand up for gender justice, speak out against bullying, discriminatory behavior and be an ally-will you? Stop by the MPIRG office (KSC 272), located in the Multicultural Center, and grab an #IllGoWithYou button so you can also be an ally for the trans community. That being said, educate and accept others, be another hand in this wave of solidarity.