Queer 101: Transness, “Allyship,” and the Upcoming Panel

Queer 101 Image

Cw: transphobia, recent threats from the Department of Health and Human Services

Kenyon, I’m trans and I’m exhausted. I’m not the only one. If I were, I’d have quit by now. There’s a panel in Hayes 109 on Friday at 4 p.m., but there’s so much more to supporting trans students at Kenyon than going to one event. Come to the panel, listen, and ask yourselves how you can fully commit to supporting us. It’s important to show up for trans folx, but active allyship isn’t just about showing up. The keyword here is “active.” This kind of work involves effort. My co-conspirators and I are getting tired of doing activist work all on our own. The Friday panel on trans resources and allyship (in response to this bullshit) isn’t just a stand-alone affair. It’s an invitation. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: do you want to learn how to make this community safer and more inclusive for everyone? Then bring a notebook because it’s time for the learning to begin. Continue reading

Four Years of Walking By: A Response to Kenyon Activism

cw: slurs

It happens every year. That’s what I tell first years when they look at me with wide-eyed confusion at the megaphones and the posters telling queer people they need Jesus and women that they need to be quiet. After four years you get used to it, but every year it hurts in different ways.

As a first year, I was hurt because I was newly out of the closet and there were some people trying to force me back in. Now I’m angry and frustrated for an entirely different reason. I want to talk about performative allyship, and how here at Kenyon, it’s something of a disease.

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Giving Voice to the Voiceless: An Interview with Jillian Watts, Assistant Director of ODEI

me

Tell us a little bit about your job at ODEI, what do you like best about it?
 
I am one of the Assistant Directors of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I coordinate LGBTQ+ programming at Kenyon, in charge of the Alumni of Color Mentoring Initiative Program, aid in cultural programming,  co-chair the Summer Internship Stipend Fund committee, chair the LGBTQ+ advisory committee, and support students that are in need of services and mentorship. I love interacting with students the best. They have been the highlight of my time here at Kenyon. I believe that learning is reciprocal, and I definitely think that I have gained so much knowledge from my students. 
 
Why is diversity important? In what ways do you think Kenyon should be taking steps to do better?  
 
Growing up in a community in Kentucky that is much like Knox county and lacked ethnic diversity, I realize more and more as I get older of what I missed out on. My undergraduate experience was a bit of a cultural shock because oddly enough, it was the first time I had interacted with a larger group of people of color that also had aspirations towards collegiate success. I was the only student of color until my junior year of high school. My experiences with racism and classism in high school shaped me profoundly and my view of the world because I began to route my thinking and experiences in a social justice lens. Diversity, in all its forms, is essential for understanding the world around you, becoming a more empathetic person, and being able to really appreciate differences and recognize similarities in all groups. When we don’t see ourselves in others, we become critics, we marginalize, and we can become oppressive. I believe Kenyon is doing a great job in being a catalyst for change and initiatives that many campuses have not even thought to do. Like all universities and colleges I have worked for, we are striving to be more proactive with issues and to boost visible diversities on-campus. 

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Leopoldo Lopez ’93 Sentenced to 13 Years and 9 Months in Prison

“Today they condemn me. But it is the regime that is condemned. For the people of Venezuela will set me free.” Via the BBC

Yesterday, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ’93 was sentenced to serve 13 years and 9 months in prison for charges of conspiracy, incitement to commit crimes, arson, and damage to public property. He has been confined to a military prison since February. Lopez’s lawyer, Jared Genser, reacted, Continue reading

Leopoldo López ’93 Speaks Out From Prison

Photo via leopoldolopez.com

Photo via leopoldolopez.com

The New York Times has published a letter from Kenyon alum Leopoldo López ’93. López handed himself to the National Guard on February 19th and was cited with charges of “inciting violence” in ongoing street protests. (You can read about the arrest in this BBC News article.)

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Leopoldo López ’93, Venezuelan Political Activist, Arrested in Caracas

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López demonstrating with the Venezuelan national flag shortly before his arrest (via AFP, Leo Ramirez)

Venezuelan opposition leader, former mayor of capital city Caracas’s Chacao Municipality and Kenyon Class of 1993 alum Leopoldo López has turned himself in to authorities on “charges of inciting violence” during recent street protests in Caracas. Continue reading