My Project: Overview
For my Catalyst Conference project, I created a physical booklet filled with gender and sexuality related questions I got from interviewing my peers and my answers to these questions. My answers range from written responses to links to newspaper articles to images.
My goal is to give Nueva students a platform to express doubts about gender and sexuality, ask tough questions, and learn more about these topics. I hope this booklet fosters discussion and ultimately, a more socially aware community.
Step 1: Choosing a Project
My Catalyst Conference project was inspired by an assignment I had in my GOA Gender Studies class. Dr. Banion had written a list of gender and sexuality related scenarios, where “your friend” was in an uncomfortable situation, didn’t know how to respond to a comment, didn’t know what he/she did wrong, etc… We were supposed to write up what we would say if we were giving our friend advice. I enjoyed the assignment but did not really make much of it until I was in the middle of a scenario myself, in real life. My yoga teacher came to class one day and pulled me aside (I’d previously told her that I was taking this Gender Studies course). And she asked me shyly, “I was calling on one of my yoga students the other day. Then after class, that student asked me to call them ‘they.’ Why is that?” That’s when I realized how useful my booklet could be to the Nueva community.
Step 2: Survey
I created a short survey for students to submit gender and sexuality related questions.
Step 3: Submissions
I waited a couple of days for my peers’ submissions to roll in. Nueva students get many emails that too, surveys for classes, from peers and faculty every day. So in that time, I received 13 out of the following 16 questions. I got the 3 other questions from personally interviewing people. I then compiled these questions into an Excel spreadsheet.
Step 4: My Responses
This was a big project, so to avoid leaving everything to the last minute, I set goals for myself. Since I got 16 questions, I had myself answer about 6 questions each week for 3 weeks. For some questions, I came up with personal responses. For others, I did research to find data, definitions, or articles. I compiled my responses in a Word document. I decided to keep the questions in a random order instead of sorting them into categories to give the booklet a more informal feel.
Step 5: Designing the Booklet
I chose to create my booklet on InDesign, a software I’m comfortable with. To make my booklet visually appealing and consistent, I created graphics to put on every page. I also added gender and sexuality related images.
Step 6: Proofread
The last step was to proofread. Apart from typos and grammar, I wanted to make sure my responses answered the question (when appropriate) and were thoughtful and concise. I also checked that I was copying my peers’ questions into my booklet accurately.
This Is It!
I handed out physical versions of this booklet to many of my peers and placed booklets on a few of my teachers’ desks with their permission.
I got in-person feedback from the people, to whom I handed my booklets. They appreciated my work and liked my graphics. I went into this project hoping to make a difference in the Nueva community, but I also learned a lot myself from doing research to answer my peers’ questions and recognizing which gender and sexuality related topics people are most uncomfortable or doubtful about.
You Too Can Participate!
You can ask gender and sexuality related questions by anonymously submitting questions to this survey. I will answer your questions the best I can by posting the question (no ID attached) along with my answer in the comment section below. Feel free to use this survey to give me feedback as well. Thank you!
“Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality.” American Psychological Association, 2008, http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.pdf.
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal, vol. 40, no. 4, Dec. 1988, pp. 519-531. JSTOR, https://www.amherst.edu/system/files/media/1650/butler_performative_acts.pdf.
Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. Routledge, 2004. https://selforganizedseminar.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/butler-undoing_gender.pdf
Ilkkaracan, Pinar and Jolly, Susie. “Gender and Sexuality.” BRIDGE, 2007, pp. 4-37. http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/sites/bridge.ids.ac.uk/files/reports/CEP-Sexuality-OR.pdf
Killerman, Sam. It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. 16 Mar. 2015, http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2015/03/the-genderbread-person-v3/#sthash.15SrPjpF.QrMGgwr3.dpbs. Accessed 22 April 2017.
Leonhardt, David and Miller, Claire C. “The Metro Areas With the Largest, and Smallest, Gay Populations.” The New York Times, 20 Mar. 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/21/upshot/the-metro-areas-with-the-largest-and-smallest-gay-population.html?_r=0.
“PFLAG National Glossary of Terms.” PFLAG, 2017, https://www.pflag.org/glossary.
“The Gender Tag: Authentic Gender Expression.” YouTube, uploaded by Ashley Wylde, 14 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjzpRvXNh7Q.
“Understanding the Complexities of Gender.” YouTube, uploaded by Sam Killermann, 3 May 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRcPXtqdKjE.