Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Slaying the Norm

Today was another day filled with knowledge and hard to discuss topics concerning gender and sexuality and how that all plays into our society. We began our days by discussing what the difference between sex, sex categorization and gender are. My team got to explain gender to the class through a small lesson plan that began with a riddle  that was meant to make people have an assumption on sex categorization. Then we told people our collective definition of gender. To really drive it in, we presented the genderbread man who shows gender as being more than one aspect about you and that they are all on a spectrum not a binary. To give another visual we had the guys stands to one side and the girls to another. They both pretended to be doing  pre-game warm up but the guys were playing the “masculine part” and the women were playing the “feminine part” and then they switched. The girls were being aggressive while the guys became quiet and started taking selfies and being feminine. Those were the two extremes but in reality no one is really like that. No one is all masculine or feminine.
Chris and Allonna taking part in the first skit
After we watched a documentary called Diagnosing the Difference that dealt with how trans people had to navigate and deal with the health care system that said they had an identity disorder. These people had to learn to lie so they would get medicines to transition or maintain their desired appearance. The people in the documentary went through a lot of abuse because of their diagnosis. One of them was even locked up and given “therapy” where he had to learn to be a girl. To this day he still has nightmares about it.

After lunch we split up into our small groups in College Hall. We further broke down what we learned in class along with the documentary. The discussion got pretty heated when someone proposed that in the dorm applications there should be an option saying whether or not you would be comfortable rooming with a trans identifying person. This caused an uproar. People were saying that that was discrimination and that what would happen if we did that with other parts of someone’s identity like the color of their skin. I found it very interesting because the person that suggested the option was from a more conservative background while the people saying it was discrimination were from a more liberal background. Soon it was time to go back to McNeil to our lecture hall.
Image result for Michael J. Krasulski
Michael J. Krasulski

Our speaker was already here when we came through the door. His name is Michael J. Krasulski and he has studied the gayborhoods (gay + neighborhood) and how they developed over time. He talked about how gayborhoods became a refuge for many gay people that were being persecuted and physically. In the gayborhood they could be their true selves and be able to love whomever they wanted to. At the end of the presentation, Michael posed the question of whether gayborhoods were needed or not. I thought that they weren’t necessary but they were wanted. Everyone wants to have a community with people that look like them. Inherently, the community would have a stronger bond because they have experienced similar things and believe similar things.
Boarder of the gayborhood. The color turned rainbow.
Coincidence? I think not.

After this was done, we ended the class by discussing gay social media characters that we wouldn’t think of like Bugs Bunny and big Bird. I was very surprised because I had never seen those characters in that way, yet they do play on some of the stereotypes that are attached to the gay community.

Tomorrow we are going to look at women’s suffrage and the struggle for equality. I am very excited for it and can’t wait to see the issues within the movement too.

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