The CU GLBTQ Resource Center and Peer Education Team continue to raise awareness throughout the community. Its members and volunteers constantly find new ways to make CU’s student body an accepting and open-minded group of individuals.
As the Trans Awareness Week began, the GLBTQ Resource Center hosted a Trans 101 meeting Monday night, where discussions were held to educate CU students, staff and Boulder community about gender identity and expression.
The event, open to all, received a considerably large turnout of both students and community members. A total of 25 people showed up to the event, which was led by three members of the Peer Education Team.
At the start of the event, rules were set to ensure that the environment would be safe and one of confidence, respect, and understanding.
Kyle Inselman, a fifth year senior majoring in film and linguistics with an LGBT studies certificate was one of the presenters in the meeting. He began working in the Resource Center in March 2010 but said this is his first semester in Peer Education.
“Raising awareness is a key element in our efforts” Inselman said. “We manage to reach out to students and members of the GLBTQ community in Boulder.”
Different informational activities were had, the first being a group participation exercise. This consisted in giving each person a picture of an individual with no name or information about the person shown and asking to put them in the spectrum of masculine to feminine.
The end spectrum had some surprising results—showing people participating in sports, regardless of their gender, to be more on the masculine end of the spectrum and those showing more skin on the feminine end of the spectrum.
Participants were asked to draw conclusions based on the results and then analyze why certain individuals were placed as they were. Is it based on looks alone or what we know of these public figures?
The meeting then moved on to a more personal level as the leaders presented six different spectrums: Biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual attraction, sexual identity and sexual behavior.
As the differences between each one were highlighted, everyone went one by one, placing themselves on each spectrum. In the crowd there was people who identified as transgender, gay, lesbian, and plenty who identify in other catagories and those who don’t consider themselves to be bound by one specific label.
Brendan Kelly, a 22-year-old grad student studying computer science, is a volunteer for the GBLTQ Resource Center. He said he was surprised by the turnout and was happy to see everyone participating and being involved in the activities.
“Because we deal with touchy subjects it is not uncommon to encounter some issue in these meetings,” Kelly said. “I think it shows we did a good job that nobody felt offended.”
Surveys were given out to all those present to receive feedback and their thoughts on the meeting. This gives insight to the Peer Education Team and the GLBTQ Resource center on how the event went from the audience’s perspective and what could be done to make it better.
Ace Eckstein, a freshman majoring in sociology and gender studies recently joined the Peer Education Team and was one of the leaders of the event.
“We go through training in order to be able to do this and I think it really helps people,” Eckstein said. “I think it’s great what we’re doing”
The overreaching message of the event was that the labels presented to classify people into groups are constrict identity, and that people who do categorize themselves do so to ease communication with others.
The Trans Awareness week at CU reaches out to all members of the community and offers support to those who need it. The week will end on the Nov. 20 with more events to attend.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mariana Tomassi at Mariana.email@example.com.