Last week, Dr. Michelle Teti, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri, Director of the Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health Program, and Program Affiliate in the Black Studies Program, and Dr. Kristen Morris, Assistant Professor in Textiles and Apparel Management, were honored with an MU Catalyst Award for their work on the Trans Positive Apparel project, funded by the MU Research Council.
The Catalyst Awards is an annual event aimed at bringing together LGBTQ activists, volunteers, students, and community members. Any group, individual, or event may be nominated for a Catalyst Award, which is reviewed by a committee overseen by the LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator. “The Catalyst Awards work to promote the efforts that often times go unnoticed by individuals to advance rights for LGBTQIA individuals,” said Sean Olmstead, Coordinator at the MU LGBTQ Resource Center.
Dr.Teti and Dr.Morris were nominated for the award by a participant in their collaborative project, Picturing Trans Apparel. “The project originated from the need to improve clothing for trans men or gender fluid individuals, and the belief that trans men themselves are best positioned to inform new solutions,” said Dr. Teti. During the year-long project, 15 trans or gender fluid individuals took pictures to capture the role of clothing in their identity, their clothing challenges, and their ideas for improved apparel; and exhibited their work to the University of Missouri community. Working collaboratively across public health and textiles and apparel disciplines, Dr.Teti and Dr.Morris used participants’ ideas and the exhibit to generate designs for improved apparel for this population.
Dr. Teti hopes events like the Catalyst Awards will help the concerns of LGBTQ individuals be recognized as public health issues, “Public health is about making environments and spaces that allow people to live safe and healthy. One may not automatically equate apparel with health, but for trans men and trans masculine folks, apparel can promote safety and guard against body and gender dysphoria,” added Dr. Teti “Being able to help empower trans masculine folks to think about identity and apparel in a positive way and to create apparel solutions, was an honor. Knowing that my work speaks up and out for LGBT people means that it was successful.”
To learn more about the Catalyst Awards, visit their website: https://lgbtq.missouri.edu/catalystawards/