Prescott Community Ed brings awareness to gender identity

Body: 

A study from the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute shows that 41 percent of transgender individuals attempt to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6 percent of the general public.

To bring awareness to gender identity issues, Prescott Community Ed is sponsoring a screening of the National Geographic documentary, "The Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric," on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Prescott High School's Performing Arts Center. The free screening will be followed by a Q&A session where panelists, including persons and family members on the transgender journey, will share their stories and answer questions for those in attendance.

"This is a topic that is timely, and we want to try and provide some answers to questions that many people have," Barb Glidden, the event's moderator, said.

"Members of the Prescott community are on this journey, and we want to provide a chance for us all to be educated and sensitized to the complexities [transgender people] face," Community Ed Director Penny Peterson said.

UW-River Falls held a similar event in the fall of 2017, from which the idea for the Prescott event was derived. Glidden and Peterson aren't aware of any other events focused on gender identity that have been held in the local area in recent years, which is why they're welcoming all in the area, not just Prescott residents, to their Thursday night event.

"We're not trying to tell anyone what they should believe about gender identity," Peterson said. "We're just simply trying to educate people on the topic. Our hope is that people will walk away from the screening with a new hope, respect and acceptance for the people in our community who are on this journey."

"People need to know how to be an ally, need to know facts, and the consequences of not addressing this topic," Glidden said. "[Being transgender] is not a choice. It's crucial that we all become educated on this topic to support those going through their transgender journeys."

Resources from River Falls' Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) support group will be available at Thursday's screening.