Una Nowling, a University alumna, was the keynote speaker for Trans Awareness Week, which was hosted by the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity.

“November is trans awareness month, and then this week is trans awareness week,” Chloe Secor, graduate assistant for the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, said, “and in honor of that, we thought it would be really pertinent to bring a trans speaker to campus.”

Nowling is a transgender woman, and shared her experiences of her transition to the audience, both in and out of her workplace, in the STEM field.

“Una Nowling is a woman of many, many talents,” Secor said.

Nowling is an engineering consultant at Black & Veatch, and a technical writer, and adjunct professor at UMKC. She also hosts a radio show called Trans Talk, which airs on every fourth Saturday on 90.1 in Kansas City, Mo.

Nowling shared her background of her childhood, and into junior high, high school, and post-University life. Being a female in engineering, she also described the interactions she had at work before and after her transition.

“[My coworkers] they’ve told me that they understand that we are a people with an identity, with a culture, and with human rights,” Nowling said. “They say that they now are going to watch out and respect us.”

Nowling said she hopes that people everywhere see transgender people as the person they are.

“We’re just average people that want to live, and love, and exist,” Nowling said.

Nowling said she thinks people who want to support the LGBTQ+ community should treat them as the gender each person identifies as, and to use the pronouns that each individual wants to be called.

“[We] just want to be Americans and citizens of the world, [we] just want to be ourselves,” Nowling said.

— Edited by Lexanna Sims