Byline: Katherine Gage
Marsha Aizumi visited Roosevelt University's library reading room on Nov. 6 and gave a lecture to a filled audience, as she spoke on her adventure in supporting her transgender son Aiden Aizumi.
The event consisted of a discussion where Aizumi talked about her son's journey toward becoming transgender, which was followed by a Q-and-A session from the audience.
Aizumi also read from her book "Two Spirits, One Heart," and then closed with giving audience members the chance to purchase her book and meet and take pictures with the author.
Aizumi's talk preludes Transgender Awareness Week that takes place Nov. 14-20, which leads to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.
At one point during the lecture, she came from behind the speaker's podium, which was holding her tissues and microphone, and said, "I don't like a podium because I feel it blocks my heart from yours." She then continued her discussion from the front of the room, without any obstructions keeping her hidden from the audience.
Aizumi explained how things were uncomfortable for her initially, like trying to remember to call her former daughter by the correct pronoun or name, or being loud and voicing her opinion with chants and megaphones at the Gay Pride Protest she attended with her son.
Aizumi would try to put herself in Aiden's shoes and open her mind to how uncomfortable he was in every aspect of his life, which is why these new changes and actions were necessary.
Junior Christian Herrera attended the lecture and talked about one of the reasons why he went.
"I know a lot of LGBT. One my close friends is gay, and my other friend is a lesbian but I don't know anybody that's transgender. So it's kind of new to me, and I wanted to learn about it," Herrera said. "I have twin brothers and one is more manly than the other, and the other is more emotional and tells you that he loves you. They don't know what gay means but if they were to ever be that, I would be here for them. And even if they weren't, I'll still be here."
Aizumi discussed how, at the event, she took her son's advice on being comfortable with being uncomfortable, in supporting his transgender journey. By taking his advice and stepping outside her comfort zone, she hopes to make the world a safer and more informed place for her son, as well as other transgender people.
With Aizumi's visit to the university, she educated the community on what it means to have a family member who is transgender in efforts to bring people a greater understanding of the term and make the world a safer place for transgender people and the community.