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Gender Identity and Gender Presentation Workshops: Organized by Miles McCain ’19 and Karin Ulanovsky ’20

As part of the programming for GSA@30 weekend, four workshops ran from 1:30-3:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. The workshops were conducted by students, faculty, and guest speakers.

T.Wei/The Phillipian

Miles McCain ’19

What did you do during the workshop?

We spoke about how gender and sexuality affect life at [Andover], and we spoke to alumni about their experiences while they were at the school and compared that to our current experiences.

Did you think it was successful?

The workshop went wonderfully… We got to talk a lot with alumni about their experiences while they were here, and I got the sense that the alumni were able to connect with the students’ experiences right now. The conversation was lively and we just spoke about everything from parietal rules to promposals to sports and dorm life.

Do you think GSA will expand this discussion?

I do hope that at GSA weekend [next year], we will invite alumni back and have similar conversations, because this one was very meaningful and productive for everyone in the room. And it was fun.

 

T.Wei/The Phillipian

“I Had a Dream: All-Gender Housing at PA” – Karissa Kang ’17

What did you do during the workshop?

It was actually a panel and the panel consisted of me, [Emma] Staffaroni, [Instructor in English and Program Coordinator of CAMD], [LaShawn] Springer, [Director of CAMD and Associate Director of College Counseling], and a parent of someone who is currently in the dorm.

During the workshop did you just sit on the panel and kind of talk?

We talked about the history [of All-Gender Housing], how this idea came about, and also how the dorm has been so far.

When you had the idea to have an all gender dorm, how did that come about?

When I first conceived of the idea of an all gender dorm, I was a [Lower] and it was just something that I had noticed that I and some of my friends possibly could have benefitted from. I applied for a summer grant at the Brace Center as a fellow for the Brace Center for Gender Studies, and then wrote my proposal that summer, and the [winter] of my Upper year I presented my proposal.

“Decolonizing Religious Studies: Making Space for Queer Voices” – Kurt Prescott, Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies and Lauren Kerby, PhD of the Religious Literacy Project, Harvard University

How did you get involved with GSA at Andover?

The director of the Tang Institute invited us to collaborate with Mr. Prescott this year to do a presentation on how religious literacy can help make space for more queer voices in the classroom.

Why do you think this topic is important on a campus?

I think we live in a really complicated society, because religion matters– not just because our friends and family and neighbors are religious and probably religious in different ways than we are– diversity exists. But religion is also a very powerful social force that is shaping the way we talk about things like sexuality, the way we talk about things like economics, the way we talk about things like race. Religious literacy is a way to give students sort of conceptual tools to analyze what’s happening there, so they can see the different components that are constructing systems of oppression or movements for peace, and try to build on what’s there and be constructive with it.

 

D.Owyang/The Phillipian

“LGBTQ Leadership in Schools” – Frank Tipton, former Instructor in History and G.S.A. Club Advisor

What do you think went well in your workshop?

We ended up having a good conversation about the various facets of leadership and that there’s not one package to define what being a leader means. We set off to one dimension of that is the leadership that one can have very publicly and symbolically, but there’s also the kind of leadership that’s behind the scenes, enabling others to play leadership roles.

Why do you think the topic is important especially on a campus like Andover or your school?

I hope that we can create environments where people can comfortably be themselves as an expression of personal identity and still play the roles that they want to play within a scholarly community, an academic community, or professional community. But, I want to go even further than that which is to say that I want to encourage all of us to ask, how can our authentic expression of ourselves actually allow us to do a better job in our work? How can it inspire us and make us better leaders or teachers or students or whatever? So that was the point of the conversation on Saturday