QTSU raises money for trans students

The Queer/Trans Student Union worked to honor a transgender teenager who took her own life after facing discrimination from her family by raising money for trans University students.

QTSU put on a benefit event in Leelah Alcorn’s name with drag, comedy, live music and a $5 cover for a scholarship aimed at trans students who may not be receiving support from their families because of their identities on Nov. 19.

Neiko Alvarez, a University senior, spearheaded this event. He started developing this idea last year and put on the event through QTSU this year.

Alvarez wanted “support for the queer community here, and money is the way to solve problems.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, trans people make up a vulnerable community. The center said one in 10 trans people have been evicted from their homes because they identify as such.

When Alcorn left her suicide note online, she asked people to donate money to organizations that benefit trans-identifying people.

“Leelah Alcorn didn’t have support because she was trans, and we want to figure out how to support those students. We felt this was the best way to honor her and what she wanted,” Darlene Johns, QTSU vice president, said.

The raised money is going to trans students who are not able to support themselves or afford basic needs.

“There is no way you can focus on academics if you are worried about your ‘trans-ness.’ If you can’t afford a place to live, or food for the week, or toilet paper or basic things to live, you can’t focus on academics,” Johns said.

This is the first year the organization has held the benefit.

The benefit was hosted at Howard’s Club H downtown. Two drag queens, Rosie D. Riveter and Vivian Vendetta Sinclaire, performed and hosted the several bands that played there. Comedians also took to the stage for charity.

Food was available through donations to raise as much as possible for the scholarship.

“This is a stepping stone for trans students to get the education they need,” Alvarez said.