Author: Aria Bryan
The Center for Gender Equity (CGE) and the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) recently kicked off “Gaypril” — a month of events focused on topics relating to LGBTQIA+ issues — with its first events, including a workshop on the intersectionality of race, sexuality and gender and a queer sex workshop last week. The month is also sponsored by the Diversity and Equity Board (DEB), the office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the Remsen Bird Fund and the Office of Student Life.
“[Gaypril is] a good opportunity for people on campus to get well-rounded in their knowledge of the queer community,” QSA Secretary Clark Leazier (sophomore) said.
According to Jonathan Grady, assistant dean of students for Intercultural Affairs, including the CGE, Gaypril highlights the voices of LGBTQIA+ persons, who are often marginalized.
“It is important to celebrate the experiences of LGBTQIA+ persons and bring greater awareness to the larger community not just in April, but daily,” Grady said via email.
The month kicked off with a workshop, also the first event to receive DEB funding, “Organizing at the Intersection of Black Lives Matter and Gender Justice” April 4, featuring Joshua Allen, a gender abolitionist and organizer from New York City whose work centers on gender and race.
Allen started the workshop by telling attendees that they avoid lecturing, and began an interactive talk with attendees.
The group discussed capitalism as a root cause of discrimination toward gender nonconforming people, the lasting effects of colonialism and safe alternatives to the police for LGBTQ people of color in a system geared against them.
In small groups attendees discussed potential spaces that could be created for those who feel unsafe when attempting to get help from a political or medical institution. People struggled to come up with solutions for LGBTQIA+ people of color who face difficulties within the system.
“My biggest priority is never to be an expert on any of these issues,” Allen said. “These should all be confusing, because oppression and extreme violence should never make sense.”
The group broke up and then came together to find ways to combat the oppression and extreme violence that many members of society face today. One solution mentioned was ensuring that those who needed to could become friendly with local businesspeople to ensure that their community members were looking out for them.
Another event in the first week of Gaypril was the Queer Sex Workshop Thursday night, hosted and taught by QSA President Alexis Morse (sophomore), who clarified immediately that she was just a peer adviser, not a pre-med student or certified doctor.
Morse reviewed consensual and non-consensual sexual activity and the anatomy of both vaginas and penises. Throughout the course of the meeting, Morse explained practices including anal sex, analingus, cunnilingus, fellatio, tribadism, digital sex, muffing, tucking and packing.
“I got sex ed in California, and we learned a lot about barriers, but we didn’t actually learn about how to have sex, and how to have conversations with your partner, and all of the really in-depth stuff that we did today,” attendee Shea Backes (sophomore) said.
Morse’s explanations included diagrams and pictures, as well as tips for how to maximize safety.
“There are things that I didn’t know were an option and I learned how to do [at the workshop],” a student who wished to remain anonymous said. “Certain acts that I’d consider doing with my partner. Now I have diagrams so I can just show them ‘look, this is how we’d do this.”
Self-identified Black students attended a Blaqout Conference April 8–9 at University of California, Riverside, the CGE supplying a van and paying registration fees.
Three more events will take place throughout the month of April: a chat with aromantics and asexuals hosted by QSA April 14, a presentation “Artists into Multiple Genders” April 20 and a coming home story slam April 26.
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