Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

GSC highlights student stories in new series

<er and Sexuality Center’s fall programming, called “Telling Our Journeys,” is underway. The series of events focuses on gender, sexuality, and other identities.

On Saturday, October 7, the GSC partnered with Carleton’s Asexual Community and Education (ACE) club to host a panel discussion.

The panel, featuring students and alums who identify as asexual or aromantic, has happened for the past few years, organized primarily by ACE.

On Tuesday, October 10, Gender and Sexuality Center Associates Audrey Kan ’18 and Avery Davis ’20 organized the event “Beyond Single Stories.” The panel, which took place in the Great Hall discussed religion, class, race, sexual and gender identity, Davis said.

The panel was comprised of one faculty member, one staff member, and two students. “It was very different to have students on the Beyond Single Stories panel,” said Davis.

“We haven’t done that before. It was relatable to the students, instead of just having authority figures talk. It’s good to have people talk about their experiences as adults, as they are still going through these journeys, but I liked incorporating students because I think it was easier to relate to.”

For the third “Telling Our Journeys” event, the GSC collaborated with the Chaplain’s office and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield for a chapel service called “She/He/They/We” on Sunday, October 15.

The series concluded on Thursday, October 19 with a  common time talk in the Sayles Hill Lounge and an evening screening of Out North, a documentary about Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ history. The documentary is a new feature of Fall programming, said Haave. The ACE panel, lunch discussion, and chapel talk are all annual events.

Two years ago, the GSC oriented their Fall term programming around National Coming Out Week. In 2016, the GSC started to rethink that theme, said Haave.

“The GSC staff and the GSCAs started to have a conversation about whether coming out was a meaningful concept to everyone, and whether that event was allowing for the multiple intersections of people’s identities,” she said.

The GSC reframed the series as “Telling Our Journeys” in order to “focus on everyone’s journeys towards the different identities they hold, and understand that sexual orientation and gender identities can’t really be separated out from other identities,” said Haave.

According to Davis, “Coming out isn’t the only way to be LGBT. A lot of people don’t have the privilege to be able to come out.”

GSCA Liv Phillips ’18 agreed. “Coming out is just one of many potential journeys someone has,” they said.

“When you frame it around coming out, you’re saying that at some point the journey stopped, and that’s very untrue. We wanted to acknowledge that some people are not concerned with coming out, and anyone—even if they are—has a whole journey afterwards too.”

“Coming out is a white concept,” said GSCA Audrey Kan ’18. “It’s centered around privileged, white queer people coming out in a very specific way. [‘Telling Our Journeys’] is more inclusive. We wanted to highlight identities that usually aren’t represented in the coming out narrative.”

GSC’s Assistant Director Tegra Straight added that while National Coming Out Day can be important for visibility and community, it “can also be a pretty isolating day for folks who are unable to live their truth publicly, or maybe who don’t want to because they don’t feel it’s necessary.”

As Phillips sees it, the GSC’s Fall term programming is relatively unified, compared to their focus on Stripped in the winter and Speak Up in the spring.

“We have big events winter and spring, but they’re not tied together,” said Phillips.

“This is the only term when all of our programming is connected . . . there’s more cohesion, and we have more of an opportunity to focus on individual aspects of the community as opposed to trying to create events that are focused on everyone.”

The reason the GSC runs more programming in the fall than other terms has to do with national awareness week timelines, Haave noted.

Historically, the GSC held separate programs about transgender identity, asexual identity, and coming out, she explained.

This year, “It made more sense to draw a connecting line through all of them, and look at them as a continuing conversation about identities,” said Haave.

“The GSC recognizes that Carleton is really over-programmed and students are often pulled in multiple ways,” Straight added.

“In the past our office tried to recognize National Coming Out Week, ACE Week of Awareness, Trans Month of Remembrance and Bisexual Awareness Week . . . but it’s not possible for us to do week-long events for every single one.”

Haave hopes to see programming continue to evolve. “I never want to do something just because we did it last year,” she said.

Phillips echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of “making sure we’re continuously asking our community if they feel that this term-long programming is focusing on the things they want it to be focusing on.”

Looking ahead, Kan said she’d like to see the GSC’s events become more interactive, noting that there was no dialogue between the audience and the panelists at this year’s ACE event.

“I’d like the audience to ask questions or have a time to go up to the panelists,” she said.

As Straight put it, “We’re always interested in finding new ways to think about the work that we do and the community that we create.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *