Morningside's first source for campus news
Sunday December 17th 2017

Insider

Archives

Gender Undone kicks off Feminist Week with Q&A session

Sarah Jackson and Kellan Walker

Sarah Jackson and Kellan Walker

by Lindsey Smith–Gender Undone members gathered Tuesday (Nov. 14) afternoon to cover a number of topics ranging from discovering the language in the LGBTQ+ community to how to be a good ally.

Combining Feminist Week with Transgender Awareness Week, Gender Undone is using this time to bring awareness to the LGBTQ+ community, which is so often attacked for their lifestyles.

Though the audience only amounted to six people, the speakers used the opportunity to teach.

Kellan Walker, president of Gender Undone, and Sarah Jackson, a member, led the session, describing first what the different letters of the LGBTQ+ acronym stand for. The full acronym is LGBTQQIAA2SPP, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, two spirit, pansexual, and polyamorous. These are just the main terms; there are over 70 other terms used to describe people within the community. Jackson also talked about the steps to becoming a good ally; the main focus of the presentation.

Walker and Jackson, both members of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, started this part of the presentation with a disclaimer. “We are not the final voices of the community. No one person’s experience is universal,” Walker said.

Both Walker and Jackson then went on to emphasize the fact that being a good ally means being a supporter, not a leader. The best way to gain information is to go online to websites like Twitter or an LGBTQ+ person’s blog to get a sense of what they are going through. The next step is to be supportive and open. People understand that you will make mistakes as you learn about the community. Most will be understanding.

“It’s not about your intent, it’s about the impact you have,” Walker said when talking about people using the wrong pronouns accidentally or assuming someone has a certain identity based on how they look.

Ultimately, people within the LGBTQ+ community want people to realize that the issues they face are everyone’s issues.  “This isn’t a one-time issue to think about. This is day-to-day life. You’re going to know somebody in your life who is part of the LGBTQ+ community,” Walker said.

Audience members seemed to take this message to heart, asking how to approach friends who have recently come out as pansexual or gender fluid, or asking which phrases are offensive to the community. Even the campus chaplain came to ask how he could be better as a man of faith when approaching this community which often reacts to religion with pain.

Walker hopes to hold more events like this in the future. “I appreciate everybody who comes here because it’s a really fun and educational thing to do. It’s a good step towards becoming an ally,” he said.

If anyone would like more information or has a specific question they want to ask, Gender Undone members can be reached on Twitter at @gender_undone, Instagram at gender.undone, and Facebook at Gender Undone.

If anyone wants to participate in Feminist Week or Transgender Awareness Week, Gender Undone is hosting two more events: a screening of  “San Junipero” from the television series, Black Mirror on Friday at 6 p.m. in Weikert Auditorium, and a candlelight vigil to remember transgender individuals who lost their lives in the past year due to violence. This event will be on Sunday at five p.m. by the Spoonholder Bench.