Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Women's Studies Event

Unfortunately, my main opinion on the Promising Practices Conference was that it wasn't what I expected.  I was hoping it would be something that would apply more to what we have been doing in class.  The workshop I attended had a little bit to do with it, it was It Gets Better.  What they didn't mention was that it was not the popular, country-wide organization meant to help people in the LGBT community, but instead it was It Gets Better with URI, which was helpful-ish but not at all what I expected.  Luckily, I did make a connection with a girl there from the religious group on campus who wants to talk to our group (HOPE) about the conflict between religions and the LGBT community.  So I was excited about that.  However, we then attended the Promising Partnerships thing, which I had hoped would include more organizations, but ended up having about 9 or 10 which almost all had to do with helping the poor and poverished, and had nothing having to do with what I was really interested in.  THEN we had to go to an hour an a half meeting thing in the auditorium, during which I felt like 90% of the things were simply marketing books and techniques to teachers, which was rather boring, even more so since we were all seriously hungry. I just felt like we all, or I at least, expected for it to pertain more to the issues we cover in Women's Studies.  Hopefully in the future, they can do a few different large seminars so that people can do things more tailored to their reason for being there.

I think one of the things that this conference could be connected to is what we discussed involving being an ally for someone.  During my workshop, we discussed many things about how to be an ally for people of the LGBT community, and how to best help the debates around marriage for same sex couples. http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

Another thing I noticed that the conference related to was the idea of privelege, power, and difference.  There were a few kids at the conference who were talking about how their teachers and friends helped them to realize they could make a better life for themselves, and who were inspired to get out of the conditions they were in, which included drug and gang activity.  It was really inspirational to hear their stories, and I hope that it inspired some students there who come from priveleged lives to consider how lucky they are and maybe put more effort in in life.

The last thing I noticed the conference related to was that in my workshop, we talked a lot about how crippling it can be to a person who "comes out" as being a member of the LGBT community.  It changes lives, and not always in a good way.  People talked about being thrown out of their houses, fired from their jobs, being bullied, and we talked about how that needs to be changed. We talked about advocating for people whose lives have been altered in a bad way for being a part of LGBT, and how we can make a difference by setting up shelters and getting the word out that just because someone doesn't label themselves as straight, it doesn't mean they should be shunned.   

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