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A year ago, I attended a performance by the Interactive Theatre Project, called “Just Between You and Me,” at the Transforming Gender Symposium. It was one of many ITP performances in recent semesters written to educate people about gender identity, especially the diversity of genders that many of us are just beginning to learn about in college.
The protagonist of this ITP performance identified as genderqueer, neither man nor woman, and just like many of the characters that ze* encountered, several of the audience members had not heard of the concept, or understood it, before the performance.
I distinctly remember one person explaining that it was this performance that helped them understand gender diversity. A similar performance will be a part of this year’s Transforming Gender Symposium, and I can’t wait to see how many people have the same epiphany of understanding.
I wish I could say that these plays could be an annual part of this small symposium, but unfortunately, the ITP is under attack. And it’s not just one little conference like this that would be affected. Every undergraduate student on this campus has seen ITP’s “Just Another Party,” the memorable staple of orientation educating incoming students about sexual assault prevention, and many have seen ITP perform in classrooms, the Dennis Small Cultural Center and at other events across campus.
In fact, ITP averages around 70 performances a year, and between Jan. 2008 and Oct. 2010, it reached 24,500 people with educational messages about racial, gender, ability, sexual and economic diversity in one of the most easy-to-understand and relatable forms available to social justice advocacy: interactive performance art.
But despite this, CUSG has introduced a bill that threatens to remove about half of ITP’s funding, prohibiting it from receiving funding from student fees. Beyond that, if the bill passes, any groups similar to ITP that are created would also be unable to receive funding from student fees. Though the bill’s supporters argue that this will save students an enormous amount of money, the amount that ITP receives from student fees is only $1.74 per student per semester.
I write this simply as a student who, like many CU students, advocates for the inclusion and rights of all people on our campus. As students who value diversity, we support ITP.
We understand that bringing underrepresented students to campus is not only a matter of cost, but about creating an inclusive campus climate, an atmosphere that understands the issues of underrepresented students and works to right the wrongs society pits against them. Please come support ITP along with us.
The best way to help is to attend CUSG’s Legislative Council meeting on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom. You can also visit the Queer Initiative table in the UMC on Wednesday and Thursday to sign a petition showing your support.
*ze is a gender neutral pronoun, equivalent to he or she.
CUSG did not reply to a request made for a response.
Contact CU Independent Contributor Kyle Inselman at Kyle.email@example.com.