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A Gender and Sexuality Q&A Booklet


Pre-survey

How comfortable are you with asking gender and sexuality related questions?

Very
Somewhat
Not at all
Do you feel the need for a platform to ask such questions?

Yes
No

 

 

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!

Click to view my booklet

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.

Reflection

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!

References

“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.

Share this project
COMMENTS: 6
  1. April 29, 2017 by James Oh

    First of all, I really praise you for showing your work step by step. I was able to see your purpose clearly. Maybe I should’ve done it this way. In my school, there is a gay club where students discuss their perspective. I know a person who has sexual orientation. The person said he knew he had sexual orientation after he was married. Also, I am from South Korea, there is a celebrity who is know for his sexual orientation. I like the fact that these people are not segregated from the society, and I think this is the most important – not separating people just because they have different perspective on love.

    • April 30, 2017 by Swetha T

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my page, James. It’s so cool that you’re from South Korea! I also think it’s very important that people who are gender-nonconforming be treated as equals to those who represent gender ideals. I can’t know for sure, but I hope that my peers felt comfortable in submitting questions to my survey no matter their gender.

  2. April 30, 2017 by Bingpu Z

    I think you provide a good stage to discuss a relatively sensitive topic on sexuality. I think you really make this effective by allowing people to submit questions and comments anonymously. I like your hard work and good job for providing such a wonderful platform in discussing issues like this!

    • April 30, 2017 by Swetha T

      Thank you for your kind comments, Bingpu. I actually started by interviewing my friends but realized that even people you know well can feel uncomfortable asking gender and sexuality related question to you in person. That’s why I created the anonymous survey.

  3. April 30, 2017 by Swetha T

    I said in the “You Too Can Participate!” section above that y’all can submit questions to the anonymous survey. Here is the first question I received, and my answer.

    Q: “How many people in the U.S. are transgender? I ask because I feel like society talks more about strait, gay, and lesbian, but not as much about other genders.”
    A: According to a New York Times article that was published on June 30, 2016, 1.4 million adults are transgender (the number of transgender people in each state varies). Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/health/transgender-population.html.

  4. April 30, 2017 by Swetha T

    Second Q&A

    Q: “Can you tell if someone is gay?”
    A: No, for two reasons. One, there is biologically nothing different between someone who is gay and someone who is not. Two, a concept called gender expression explains it well. Gender expression is the way a person expresses their gender identity through appearance, clothes, or behavior. A person’s gender expression can match with their gender or not, so you cannot tell someone’s gender just by looking at them. In my booklet, I cite a very entertaining TED Talk titled Understanding the Complexities of Gender by Sam Killermann. Sam starts off by saying how people assume he is gay, when he’s not, because of how he talks and what he wears. I’d highly suggest watching it! Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRcPXtqdKjE.

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