GSM/LGBTQ Identity & Activism

Covering a wide range of sexuality and gender experiences and identities, this category includes such topics as queer/LGBT identity in a straight world, activism, queer spirituality, and transition.

Strategies for Everyday Activism

What kind of subtle decisions do we make in our everyday lives that constitute a kind of activism, and how can we implement these decisions more effectively? From the conscious choice to mention the gender of a partner, to choosing to hold someone’s hand in public, or “accidentally” revealing to a homophobic store clerk that yes, some fags do carry a concealed firearm. In this class, we will talk about how we can advance the place of LGBT people in the everywhere through the tiny ripples we make as we move through the world.

The Unintentional Closet: Queer Identity in Hetero-presumptive Situations

It’s a straight world out there. What effect does it have on our identities as queer people when we are in situations where the people around us make assumptions about our sexuality orientation or gender identity. Does it matter how the world outside our doors perceives us, or can we go through life knowing who we are without that external validation? In this workshop we will commiserate, discuss and strategize ways to live, work and play in a our broader communities, while still staying true to ourselves and maintaining the crucial balance between being out and getting ourselves in trouble.

Out in the World

For some of us, high school and/or college can be a wonderful time of self-discovery and community. For others it is a trial to be endured, the reward of which we are assured, is the freedom to embrace our true selves when we go out into the world on our own. Regardless of your experience, the transition from high school into college, and then from there into the “real world” (or directly into the “real world” if college is not part of your path) can be an exciting, daunting, magical, and dangerous, time for young queer/LGBT people. In this workshop we’ll talk about coming out, building a “family of choice,” interacting with school administration and employers, confronting homo/transphobia on our own, relationships, self-identity and more.

Why/What Is Queer?

It often seems like people who self identify as “queer” are becoming more and more common. But as an identity it can seem sometimes like “queer” is hard to quantify. “Queer” has an amazing ability to both unite and divide, to make one feel included or excluded. In this workshop we’ll talk about what “queer” means to us, the broader community, and even to culture and society. Through shared experiences and writings we can gain greater understanding of why this identity has meaning for so many, as well as why others find it off putting or even threatening.

A Whirlwind Tour of the Gender Spectrum with Wintersong

It sure isn’t a binary world out there! The range of people’s experiences, identities, and presentations of gender/sexuality are extraordinary, and yes, sometimes confusing. In this workshop, Wintersong will help illuminate the myriad of ways people experience and express their gender identity, with an eye towards deepening interpersonal understanding and relations. Intended primarily for people new to many of these concepts, there will be lots of time for questions and discussion.

Exploring Dynamics of Trans/Cis Relationships

There are unique internal and external challenges and joys in relationships between transgender people and cisgender people. While everyone’s experience is different, there are common themes that crop up from within and without in this situation. Together we will look at some of the internal processes, communication strategies, experiences of and in community, distinctive dynamics, and more, that are sometimes found these relationships, with an eye towards being healthier, happier and more understanding partners.

Considerations for Trans/Cis Erotic Play

It’s awesome when two or more people are interested in play, sex, or dating. When one or more of those people are trans*, and one or more of them are cis, there are particular communication strategies, pressures, joys, and other considerations, that can be valuable to acknowledge and work with. Whether you’re looking for a quick pickup or a lasting relationship, this workshop will help provide you with concrete tools and strategies for how these interactions can, and do, work.

Living “Outside the Box”

Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans-Queer-Questioning-Intersex-Ally the list could go on. We “box” our selves in a wide variety of ways, not just with regards to our gender and our sexuality, but also our politics, religious beliefs, even our computer choices (gods forbid one own both a Mac and a PC). The truth is that for many of us, these categories have gotten limiting. Sometimes our “boxes” can feel in conflict with one another, or we are perceived as “other” by one community we feel kinship with because of our ties to another. In this workshop we will discuss strategies for living “outside the box” and embracing our individuality without loosing the vital sense of connection to community that many of us crave.

Growing Up Queer, A Child & Parent’s Perspective

Wintersong came out to his parents when he was thirteen years old (1993). In this workshop, Winter and his mom recount their mutual journey through his (very) queer adolescence and beyond. What struggles did they share, and what were more personal? How do their memories and experiences of the same periods compare? Where did each of their visions of the future come to fruition, and where did the train of life jump a track (or three)? And what can their shared experience offer other families, regardless of age?

Spirituality of Queer Acts

Being LGBT is not just about who we are as people, it can also be about the cultural and behavior activities we engage in. This workshop is a facilitated discussion about where we find the spiritual meaning, grounding, and significance in the acts that help define us as LGBT people. Obviously this can include the marvelous varieties of queer sex, but we’ll also look at the spiritual meaning of such varied acts as going to a Broadway show (or watching Glee if you don’t have the budget), receiving a hormone injection, showing affection in public, and whatever other ideas you bring to the table.

Not “She-ing” My Husband

After years of exploring and experimenting with gender, Wintersong’s partner of eleven years officially began the process of gender transition from female to male. They have entered this process with a lot of advantages. They have a close circle of friends that includes a significant number of transgendered people, they both identify as queer men, and their extended family is being very supportive (and unsurprised). Even with all that in their favor, being the partner of a person who is transitioning is not a simple or easy thing. This workshop will address the dual questions of how a partner can be the best and most supportive person possible for someone they love who is transitioning, as well as addressing some of the fears, concerns, frustrations, triumphs, and isolation we feel as we watch the process unfold.

Confronting the Myths of Male Circumcision

Living in the United States, most people simply accept the practice of male circumcision without thinking overmuch about it. In clinging doggedly to circumcision, America is unique among all other western countries. Why is it that no matter what the evidence, there always seems to be a new reason found to engage in this practice? In this workshop we will address the history, the myth, and the misinformation that is at the heart of the circumcision debate.