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this week in gender bending: social justice workshops

Yikes, we at genderpanic have had a super busy week.  I work with a pro-justice team of high school youth and this week had the pleasure of acting as the discussion facilitator for the first time.  We watched and analyzed cool video clips such as Feminist Frequency’s Bechdel Test for Women in Movies, then talked about homophobia, gender and sexism in the United States.  In addition, Panda and I both attended a really interesting workshop this weekend on using Theater of the Oppressed exercises and techniques as a tool for facilitating discussions on justice and equality.  Since teaching and discussing social issues has been the main focus of my reading and thinking this week, I wanted to share some of the neat resources that I’ve come across.

The Sociological Cinema – This website lists free online video clips that can be used in teaching about social issues such as class and gender.  It’s incredibly well organized and has tags that allow you to search both by subject and by video length.  The description for each clip also gives suggestions for discussion topics.

Theater of the Oppressed – A form of theater developed in Brazil …

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gender bending leads to high school arrest

“Gender Bender Day,” a part of the Homecoming celebration at a high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina, turned sour when the principal apparently deemed some of the gender bending costumes inappropriate and told several students they would have to go home to change.  When student Arryn Tyler protested (admittedly a bit too aggressively), she was tackled by a deputy sheriff, hand cuffed and arrested.

Can we say overkill?  As Dogbert would put it, the actions taken were on the level of “sandblasting a soup cracker.”  Yes, giving the middle finger to an authority figure is highly inappropriate and should be disciplined, but being taken down by a police officer for it is quite an excessive use of force.  My only hope from a story like this is that this situation inspires Arryn Tyler and other young queers to be activists for life.  That’d really be sticking it to the man.

what? a totally free book?!

Blue Boy

Blue Boy

That’s right totally free…until midnight tonight (Weds, Oct 6, PST).  There are alas some limitations – to enjoy this free digital copy of “Blue Boy” by gay novelist Rakesh Satyal, you must have a Kindle and/or a Mac computer (for those who have Macs but not Kindles, go here to download a free application so that you can read Kindle books on your computer).

Why is Satyal offering free digital copies of his book?  He hopes that it can be a source of comfort and insight to queer youth who may be struggling with bullying.  This book, though fictional, has some basis on Satyal’s life.  It tells the story of a gay Indian-American boy growing up in Cincinnati  who must learn to overcome the bullying and family pressures that he faces.

I just downloaded it and haven’t read much of it yet, but got 4.5/5 stars on Amazon and seems like a pretty cool book.  I’ll do …

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#stay alive

To anyone out there (not just teens) who has ever felt hopeless about life because your gender or sexuality doesn’t fit the ridiculously rigid social standards that exist today:  your life is worthwhile and worth living.  Don’t ever forget that, even if there are people who push you to feel otherwise.  Some periods in life are really tough, and I don’t know why it has to be that way, but the parts of life that are beautiful make it all worthwhile.  You should love whomever you want to love and present yourself however you feel most comfortable, and you should do so without shame.  Having only binary options in our social system for gender and sexuality is what is unnatural and shameful – not anything about you.

For another awesome “it gets better” video, check out the one by genderpanic’s favorite gender outlaw Kate Bornstein.  Also listen to Ellen DeGeneres’ important message about bullying.  And for frequent reminders from fellow queers, activists, and youth about the importance of staying …

Click to continue reading #stay alive