NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Before I officially start this article, I want to make a note that it will contain mentions of domestic violence.

If you’re on campus often, chances are you’ve heard of V-Day Lafayette. At the very least, you’ve probably seen their full glass case in the Union or their bright pink tent at events like Get on Board Day.

V-Day Lafayette is an organization on campus, open for all to join. Their president is Lara Vergenal. The “V” stands for “Victory over Violence,” and the group’s main purpose is to act against domestic violence.

According to their Orgsync page: “V-Day is a global activist movement to end gender-based violence. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women, girls, and trans* individuals, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.”

The group is pretty active on campus with weekly meetings and fundraising for organizations such as Faith House; however, their biggest event is their production of “The Vagina Monologues.”

“The Vagina Monologues” is a show featuring an all-female cast. Usually students, these performers will be reading monologues straight out of a book of the same name by Eve Ensler. According to ULink, the production is only performed on college campuses, and all proceeds are donated to Faith House, which is a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence.

V-Day Lafayette, as stated before, accepts trans members into its ranks. But do they accept them in their production?

The answer is actually a simple yes. According to a flyer for the auditions, they want “women and female-identifying performers.” No acting experience required.

I do think that the wording of the flyer is a little strange, however. If someone is “female-identifying,” then they are a woman. It’s like saying you only want “chocolate mocha,” because mocha is already chocolate. So, why do they word the flyer like this, and is it problematic?

I don’t really think it is. It just seems like a genuine attempt to assure transgender individuals that they are included, taking away their need to find someone and ask, which could be an uncomfortable experience depending on whether or not someone is out or presenting. Maybe there’s a better way of saying it. I understand how the current wording of it seems to separate “female-identifying” and “women,” but I think that’s just an issue with their sentence structure.

What I like most about it is that they’re making an effort to be inclusive. For an organization geared mostly, if not completely, towards women, it can be difficult to assure transgender women that the group is a safe space for them as well.

Transgender women don’t want to be separated or alienated from cisgender women, so having a flyer explicitly state that the group is for them too can be hard. That being said, it can be difficult for a transgender woman to just assume the group is open to them because that leaves open the possibility of getting kicked out or ridiculed.

Hopefully one day transgender women won’t have to worry about confusions like that, but for now — especially in the South, like we are — it’s something I predict will have to be endured for at least a little while longer.d

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