MBLGTACC: A New Perspective

Hello Friends,

First off, I want to remind everyone that today February 27th is the GAP open house from 1:00-4:00pm! Open house will be in the GAP office down in the basement of the Student Center across from the study abroad offices! We hope to see you all there!

Next, as promised, I was able to conduct a brief interview with two advocates who attended MBLGTACC this past weekend in Chicago! I decided to take the approach of exploring the benefits to this experience from two different perspectives and I’m grateful that Hailey Bird and Katie Gilroy were willing to share their honest opinions and feelings in regards to how this conference impacted them. This conference has proven to be an excellent open door for GAP to become more involved and exposed to the greater issues that reach beyond our campus!

I am definitely a person who doesn’t like to put words into other people’s mouths, so below is a transcript of our interview!

MBLGTACC: The Different Perspectives of Being Inclusive

Caity Bentzinger conducted the interview and questions were asked towards Hailey Bird (co-coordinator of GAP) and Katie Gilroy (GAP Advocate)

Question 1.) Interviewer: Explain your reaction to your experience at the conference in Chicago?

Hailey- The MBLGTACC conference was an unforgettable experience for me mostly because it was the first opportunity I have had to be surrounded by people in the LGBTQ+ community. It gave me a sense of belonging and I was able to be unapologetically gay and completely myself.

Katie- Attending the conference as a straight ally was a unique experience for me because it was one instance where I was in the minority. I was able to get a better perspective on how the LGBTQ+ community feels in everyday life. Although this was only a one weekend opportunity I was excited to be a part of this inclusive environment.

Question 2.) Interviewer: What is something you will never forget that happened this weekend?

Hailey- The two most member able work shops I attended was one about Gender expression in the lesbian community and the other was about American Sign Language and what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community and also live with a hearing loss. These two workshops were so specific and so applicable to my life.

Katie- My most memorable part of this experience was hearing Patrisse Cullors speak. She is the co founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement and identifies in the queer community. Her speech was extremely powerful and made me realize that I need to do more to be active within the Lincoln Community to change things I am passionate about. I have heard voiced from many of my LGBT friends that they feel like they have been excluded from civil rights movements in the past. However, Patrisse’s entire speech was about how the Black Lives Matter Movement has always been a queer movement.

Question 3.) Interviewer: As either a member of the LGBT community or Ally, what was it like to be in this type of environment away from the environment at NWU?

Hailey– It was the most comfortable feeling to finally belong somewhere.

Katie- As an ally I was able to learn ways in which I can be an advocate to the community without coming off as a “straight savior”.

Question 4.) Interviewer: After what you experienced, what do you feel needs to happen on our campus in order to become a more inclusive community? What can we do starting with GAP?

Hailey- One issue that we learned about at the conference was how common conversion therapy on LGBT youth is still being practiced in almost all 50 States. This is something I hope to further look into in our community and see how I can get involved or how GAP can get involved to end these torturous practices.

Katie- I would like to see our campus become a sanctuary for LGBTQ+ students. Our campus has been very inclusive but there have not been any formal statements made regarding the support of these students after the recent election.

Question 5.) Interviewer: Is this an event that GAP will be experiencing again next year?

Hailey- Next year the conference will be taking place on UNO’s campus so GAP would like to be as involved as possible. Since it will be less expensive to travel I hope to see a greater attendance of Wesleyan Students at the conference next year.

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