Introducing Your New Leadership Team!

Hello Advocates!

Now that the cat is finally out of the bag, figuratively speaking! I am so excited to have the opportunity to share with you your NEW Co- Coordinators and NEW Advisor for the 2017-2018 academic school year! However, before I do so, I want to take a special moment to give a huge thanks to our previous co-coordinators Hailey Bird and Jinni Barak as well as our previous advisor, Dr. Gerise Herndon! Big things are happening for these three wonderful ladies as Hailey will be studying abroad, Jinni will be spending a semester in Chicago for theatre, and Dr. Herndon who will be going on sabbatical! Thank you for your time, effort, passion, and leadership throughout this past year and the many years before. We wish you the best of luck on your adventures and look forward to hearing all about your adventures when you return back to Wesleyan!

Now, I am so excited to announce your new co-coordinators!! ****drum roll****

Returning for her Senior Year the beautiful Abby Feden and joining along side her will be Madeline Warrick!! I have been given the distinct honor to work with both of these ladies for the past year and I can easily say with much excitement that the GAP is in wonderful hands and you should all be just as excited as I am for what they will bring to the GAP because it’s going to be AWESOME!!

Additionally, to keep the excitement going, Our Gender Studies program director joining the leadership team is Dr. Abigail Mitchell!! I am personally excited for this because she and Dr. Herndon are two of my favorite professors and I have enjoyed having both of them as mentors, guides, and idols! For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Mitchell is a psychology professor here at Wesleyan who specializes in romantic relationships with a passion for gender studies. I have been a student in her Psychology of Gender course as well as her Teaching Assistant and as of this semester, she has introduced two new courses to the area of gender studies examining and learning about gender identity and sexuality! The GAP is lucky to have her expertise and passion joining the team! Welcome Dr. Mitchell!! We will also have the advising expertise of Dr. Sue Wortmann who has been a longtime member of the GAP advisory board.FullSizeRender

I also would like to thank everyone else who applied for the positions. From what I have heard, there were so many amazing applicants and this really just shows how passionate our organization is! Together we are truly creating an inclusive and all accepting community and as we continue to work together, only progress and good things will happen! So thank you to everyone for being the amazing and empowering advocates you are! This has been such a great year and I personally look forward to seeing what is next for the Gender Advocacy Place!

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End the Year with a Bang

Good Day Gender Advocates!

There is so much that has been going on here at Nebraska Wesleyan and it’s about time I share it all with you!

Last week was earth week! yay Earth! Abbie Feden, one of our amazing advocates and former co-coordinator spent the entire week representing the GAP by putting on the Menstruation Sensation event and putting GAP on the NWU map at the fair! I was able to attend both events and I must say, my mind was completely blown with her creativity and inspired by her passion for the GAP! At the menstruation event, she created a safe space for anyone of all genders to gather and embrace menstruation. As many of you may know, this is not a well spoken of topic and sometimes may be perceived as “awkward”, but Abbie kicked woman butt and made the event such a blast! Because it was earth week, Abbie and the GAP handed out free samples of eco friendly condoms for males and females, diva cups, earth friendly lubricant, and embraced sexuality to a whole new level! Shout out to Abbie for her awesomeness!!Image-1.jpg

Also, TODAY we will be celebrating the Gender Studies Department! From 4:00-5:30pm TODAY in the All American Room at the Weary Center here on campus! Please help us celebrate the end of another great year in NWU Gender Studies! We will honor the 2016-2017 accomplishments of Gender Studies faculty and students and thank Gerise Herndon as she completes a fourteen year term as chair of the program. Additionally, we will be welcoming Dr. Abigail Mitchell to the GAP family as the new chair of the program, so if you haven’t had a chance to meet this fierce professor, now is your chance to stop in and say hello! Oh, and it’s not a Gender Studies event if food is not there, so of course appetizers and beverages will be provided and just a little hint to everyone… I heard that the menu was thought out very carefully, so we are definitely in for a treat by coming to this awesome event!! Again, 4:00-5:30 in the All American Room TODAY April 27th! We look forward to seeing you all there!!

Lastly, another shout out moment to our co-coordinators for some of their current work they have been completing! If you have been around campus, more importantly the library, then there is a good chance you were able to see Hailey Bird’s awesome display on the first floor! This display also features the amazing artwork of another GAP member, Emma Krenzer who has recently been a viral star with her image reflecting touch! Shoutout to these awesome Ladies for their hard work!IMG_5096.JPG

Lastly, our other co-coordinator, Jinni Barak has been super busy in the theatre department directing her show F2M which performed all this week! ” It’s Parents weekend at Parker’s college. his girlfriend Lucy has invited her mother. Linda Lou, whereas Parker’s parents are expected to be absent. their unwarranted arrival places Parker in a battle surrounding his family, girlfriend, and his gender identity!” Shoutout to Jinni for an awesome production!

What an awesome community of lovely people who are bringing awareness in their own ways and doing what it takes to continue the movement towards gender equality! We are so proud of the hard work and passion that has come from our advocates! Good Work to everyone!! You all Rock!!

We Are Awesome

Hello Everyone!

I am so proud of our community here at Wesleyan and the opportunities we provide one another in academia. This week the Gender Advocacy Place and Pride Alliance brought guest speakers on campus to discuss and educate our community on pressing issues happening within our society today!

On Tuesday, the GAP hosted LeeAnn Pancharoen from Planned Parenthood for the Healthy Relationships event. LeeAnn discussed with us the importance and impact of consent. Through discussion and group activities we learned that the concept of consent has many interpretations and it’s important that we are aware of every situation where consent is necessary. LeeAnn taught us how to instigate the conversation with a significant other or future intimate partner and taught us so much about how consent is what helps make a relationship healthy. Following her talk, Lindsay Spaulding from Voices of Hope and our campus advocate here at NWU spoke about Title Nine here on campus and what resources are available to all students in the case where consent was not mutual and how we can use those resources if we are ever in that traumatic situation! Huge thanks to both LeeAnn and Lindsay!17758189_604819053043547_8401378283695183542_o

The next day, Wednesday, Pride Alliance hosted Samuel Brinton who is a survivor of Conversion Therapy! To pretty much sum up his talk, his life accomplishments are basically the definition of Life Goals!! He graduated with his Masters from MIT in nuclear engineering, but also has a Masters in Opera. He has performed on Broadway and additionally works with President of the United States in regards to nuclear systems. Two complete opposite ends of the spectrum, yet he accomplished it all! Also, he knows Michelle Obama on a personal level…. LIFE GOALS!!!

Sam was raised by two Southern Baptist ministers and endured years of reparative therapy to “fix” his homosexuality. He is the founder of an organization called 50 bills 50 states that is currently moving to protect LGBT youth from having to endure conversion therapy nationwide. Sam is an amazing speaker and it was truly an honor to have him on campus and hear his inspirational lecture. Thank you to Sam and Pride Alliance for this amazing opportunity!

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Coming up this month, the GAP will be participating in the End Rape On Campus Event this Thursday April 13th from 2:00-4:00pm at UNL! Lindsay Spaulding will be speaking and I know she would love to see some prairie wolf representation at the event! So if you are interested in attending, there are flyers posted around campus or you can email Jinni and Hailey at nwugap@gmail.com! We look forward to seeing you there!!

Additionally, the GAP will be participating in Earth Week as well as having our Menstruation event. I will post more details leading up to the event, so keep an eye out for that coming up! Until next time friends!

National Women’s History Month

As the month of March is coming to an end, I wanted to take this opportunity to share an awesome photo created by our own Gender Advocate, Kate Engle. She is the creator of this fantastic poster and I thought it was important that everyone got the chance to see and read these great facts about awesome females!GAP BLOG- Women's history month

Please enjoy this lovely poster and remember how awesome humanity is! Peace and Blessin’s!

“Women’s Movements in India” Coming to NWU!

Hello Friends,

We are so lucky to have such an amazing opportunity coming to our campus here at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Professor Binda Paranjape will be speaking in Dr. Lisa Wilkinson’s class on Thursday March 30th in Old Main Room 207 from 12:20pm – 1:30pm.

For those who don’t know,  Binda Paranjape is a Professor of History at Bananas Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. She comes highly recommended and  her presentation will not be one to miss, so I encourage anyone and everyone to come hear her speak. If anyone needs a little more convincing, the following link is a video from National Geographic showing a conversation between Binda and MORGAN FREEMAN! The Hindu Interpretation of Creation

Such a powerful video! Like I said, You won’t want to miss this!

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Finally, It’s time to announce our next Gender Advocates of the week. I say plural because this week I could not choose between the two ladies I had in mind. They are the co-coordinators of the Gender Advocacy Place and both do so much for the GAP. I’d like to introduce you all to Hailey Bird and Jinni Barak.

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Hailey Bird is Sophomore at NWU and studying Sociology, Gender Studies, and Marketing. She joined the GAP because she is passionate about equality and the GAP provided the perfect opportunities for her to express her interests in advocacy and give a voice for those who can not. She also loves being a part of a community of students who share the same common interests with her. After her time at NWU, Hailey hopes to move somewhere with more diversity and a more expressive LGBT community. YOU GO GIRL!

Jinni Barak is a Junior at NWU studying Theatre and Social Change. Jinni Joined the GAP because the organization stands for so many ideas parallel to what she believes in. Being a part of the GAP allows her to collaborate with other students and organization on campus to advocate for gender equality. After her time here at NWU, Jinni would like to join a progressive theatre company that focuses on feminist issues and more than likely move to Chicago. Good Luck Jinni, You a Cool CAT!

Let’s Talk

Hello Friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break! I certainly enjoyed my time sleeping in, watching Netflix, and being with my family! In the midst of everything going on, I had an extended moment of realization. For those of you who do not know, my parents are both ministers and part of the job description is providing support and pastoral care to families who are going through a tough time. This week two very lovely human beings from our church family were admitted into hospice care. These individuals have been battling an incredible fight with cancer, but realized that time is of the essence. There’s a level of comfort in knowing that their pain will soon go away, but sometimes it’s hard to comprehend how much time we are given. I’m saddened to say that one of these individuals passed away just hours after being admitted (not even 40 years old yet) and the other individual has been given 6 months to live. While watching my parents work hard to comfort the families in their time of grieving, I realized and asked myself a few things.

1.) Today was the Transgender Rights are Human Rights rally

2.) Why do we wait until the last minute to share the love in our hearts?

3.) Everyday is a gift, we don’t necessarily need to always live in the moment, but we do need to realize the world we are leaving behind.

We live in a world that can’t decide the best way to treat people. In a way, we may all be scared of what is to come and instead of comforting one another, we are fighting to the finish to protect ourselves. I hear the phrase “Love is Love” all around me, but are we really living that out to the fullest extent. Personally, I know I haven’t. I hold grudges against those I care for, I have moments of greed, I have experienced more than my fair share of poor judgement calls, I worry about my future every day (especially with graduation quickly approaching) and I know I am not the only one. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m ready to say enough is enough! It is time to forgive those who have done wrong by you, ask for forgiveness from those you have done wrong by. Love those around you near and far! support one another and show compassion! complete random acts of kindness! Be a friend in your community! Be genuine! Be Beautiful! Be someone you can be proud of! I know this is what I want to strive for and I encourage many of you to do the same! If anything, re-live the golden rule we were taught in elementary school: Treat others the way you want to be treated! Imagine what our world would be like and the possibilities that could evolve for human kind just by this one rule and this kind of mindset! I definitely want to believe that a lot of our problems could be solved or at least find a door to open up discussion.

I know that these words are easier said than done. I know that this might also be interpreted as either a silly rant or a cloud 9 idea that went way over my head. That’s fine, but as I sit here and ponder these thoughts and watch these families, I can’t help but feel motivated to keep pushing for a better outcome within our community. I can’t help but believe that there is a light to be discovered at the end of what seems to be a very long tunnel.

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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