Last Thursday, WCS put together a primer on LGBTQ+/Queer identities. It focused on terminology, experiences, and breaking down binaries. The workshop was geared towards those who don’t already have a good frame of reference for how to understand LGBTQ+/Queer-identifying folks.
The main points, besides vocabulary, to take away from the workshop were: 1) respect each other’s experiences and identities; 2) “definitions” of various queer identities might be different for different people, so let others identify themselves and never assume someone’s identity; and 3) accept and be okay with discomfort in order to better understand or respect someone’s identity.
Implementing these lessons requires thought, acceptance, education, and action. Seeking out resources and new knowledge can only ever be beneficial, so those with questions are encouraged to research on their own or find someone who is willing to talk about their experience. One of the guests of the workshop mentioned that when encountered with an unfamiliar term or identity, a good question is “so what does that mean for you?”
Perhaps most significant to the goals of WCS was the workshop’s focus on concepts of gender and sex. There was a significant discussion of the gender and sex binaries and the way that they are socially constructed and represented. The takeaway message was that not only is it harmful to assume things about someone based on their gender or sex, but it is harmful to assume someone’s gender or sex preemptively (see rule 2 above).
Some comments, questions, and reactions to the workshop:
“Thanks for doing this!”
“I liked how much you emphasized the spectrum of both gender and sex – I wasn’t aware of sex existing on such a spectrum.”
“I learned that ‘trans’ isn’t just for binary gender identities.”
“I learned a lot about how the language we use reflects and reinforces perspectives. Also, I feel less anxious knowing some ways to approach pronouns and how people identify.”
“Include campus resources!”
In the spirit of that last comment:
For more information, the slides from this event, or just to talk about Queer things, contact Nick Montoni (firstname.lastname@example.org).