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!

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“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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Be Educated With GAP!

Hello Advocates!

I hope everyone has been enjoying this warm weather as much as I have! This week I was able to sit outside on my front lawn to do homework for the first time in months! It was truly a beautiful experience! I’m sure a lot of you can agree with me when I say I’ve definitely missed that vitamin D on my skin! To make things more beautiful… Warm weather means it’s time for spring and spring means many events with the GAP ready for you all to attend! YAY! I will continue to update details of each event as they come, so be ready to mark your calendars! For now, please consider attending the following events coming up:

  • February 27th at 12:00pm-4:00pm in the GAP office
    • Come check out our office and get to know our advocates! This would also be a perfect opportunity to get involved and apply to be an advocate with us! We would love to see you all attend!
  • March is also National Women’s History Month!

More events will be happening in March and April, but we hope to see you all at the Open House! It’s going to be a good time! Additionally, Fliers and emails will be sent out shortly, but if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and let either Hailey Bird or I know!

Finally, as promised, I would like to introduce you all to our first Gender Advocate of the week: KERRY WORLEY!

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When she isn’t busy smashing the patriarchy, Kerry is working towards her degree in Social Work with a minor in Gender Studies. Her future goals are to work for the state, but her dream job is to run her own non-profit organization. Kerry got involved with the GAP because she loves that the organization provides a safe place for anybody on campus despite gender, sexual orientation, or any other stigma that might prevent a student from feeling comfortable within their own school/home environment. She also enjoys that GAP partner’s up with Voices of Hope and the amazing Lindsay which is such an amazing organization that she is proud to represent on campus. Her goal in GAP is to help inform people about how many problems are present on this campus regarding sex and gender and raise awareness to the action we all must take to be an inclusive community. Some extra fun facts about Kerry: her favorite netflix show to binge watch is currently Shameless, but overall New girl is one for the win because Zooey Deschanel is her spirit animal. If she could be any food item, she would be an avocado!Keep an eye out for later this week as a special post will be uploaded sharing the exciting trip and you all will be receiving the insight scoop!

Are We An Inclusive Community?

Hello Friends,

First off, I want to let everyone know that the Healthy Hearts event was postponed and has been rescheduled to take place in April, so keep an eye out for an updated flier and social media posts regarding the new date and time for this amazing event as well as other events coming up soon!

Next, There is an issue that has been weighing on my heart lately and I finally have built up enough courage to voice this thought with you all. As many of you already know, a group of students from the GAP had the opportunity to attend the Women’s March on Washington in D.C. a few weeks ago and I was honored to be one of the individuals able to attend the event. Unfortunately, since then, I have received some negative commentary from individuals both within my family and in my social circle who did not approve of my choice to attend the march. Ultimately, these comments were said because they were unaware of my reasons for participating. However, some have also expressed that they did not view any issues within our country to be significant enough for a world wide march. Before I continue, I want to add that I am not trying to point any fingers and additionally, I respect that everyone is allow to have their own opinion, but this is how I feel. The lack of education regarding the purpose of the march, the social issues our society has ignored, and the overall attitude of our country breaks my heart. There is much to be discussed in order for us to make change in our community, but we can’t do that if we are not willing to put our differences aside and stand together for the greater cause. This week as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a short video clip that discusses the reality of stereotypes and prejudices along with a message expressing the importance of what it means to be an inclusive community. I invite everyone reading this blog post to take the time and watch this video clip. The clip can be found on the Nebraska Wesleyan GAP page! It’s only a few minutes long and it personally changed my perspective as well as forced me to have a reality check on how I can be a better neighbor to those around me. Also, if you haven’t done so already, this would be a perfect opportunity to like our page and keep up to date on what is happening with the GAP. Thank you for reading my two sense on this issue, it feels good to finally feel comfortable voicing my opinion and I encourage others who may have been silent or just going with the flow of things (like I was doing) to consider speaking up too. Definitely a liberating moment!

Anyways! Coming up next week, I will begin posting an “Advocate of the Week” introducing different volunteers and advocates here on Wesleyan’s campus throughout the semester. My goal for this addition is to assist others by putting a name with a face. This will hopefully allow anyone to know who they can contact/reach out to for information or even to just recognize another friendly face on campus who is associated with the GAP. The GAP strives to be an inclusive safe place and I feel that it’s important for everyone to know who they can turn to if they ever need us.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week and continues to have a safe weekend! I look forward to keeping you all updated on what is happening as our spring semester continues, so stay tuned! 🙂