Soup and Conversation with Gender

Gender and Sexuality Student Services (GSSS) hosted a soup and conversation from 4 to 6 in SLB 22 to discuss gender and breaking gender roles. The discussion was led by Melanie Clark.

The event was held as an extension for trans visibility week and as a way to wrap up the many events that took place throughout the week. Clark discussed gender and provided handouts that would be able to steer the discussion in a new way. Instead of using terms such as masculine and feminine different terms such as ‘stag’, ‘crow’, or other animals were used as an anchor in the discussion of gender expression. As an example, a peacock was used for a more flamboyant expression. Although the terms were not perfected, it was used as a starting point for people to have different ideas of gender and ways to describe gender.

“Ultimately you can argue that it’s still gendered because it’s based on gender,” says Jaclyn Fabing. “There’s three groups and you know that the general idea behind it is masculine, androgynous, and feminine.”

This jump-started a conversation about how people felt about gender and the implications that these new descriptors had. In the discussion, more general terms based on animals were used to describe gender, such as a cardinal being flashy, but not too flashy. Instead of animals, some people suggested using different descriptors, such as shapes, to describe someone’s gender expression.

Although not many people attended the Soup and Conversation, the GSSS has a weekly meeting every Thursday from 4 to 6 called LGBTea where people can hang out and discuss gender and sexuality freely. Anyone is welcome to attend, whether they’re LGBT or not, to learn or meet new people and get involved.