As part of continued efforts to support LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and community members, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program has partnered with the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, Prism, Out Front, and Charleston’s LGBTQ+ youth advocacy and support organization We Are Family for two days of programming on Oct. 16 and 17, 2019.
Oct. 16 is International Pronouns Day (IPD), which seeks to make respecting, sharing and educating about preferred personal pronouns commonplace. Representatives from the partnership will table on Cougar Mall to bring awareness and offer education about the importance of pronouns as a basic aspect of human dignity.
“International Pronouns Day is just one way to show our support and solidarity with people who ‘do’ gender differently than the norm,” says student activist Tanner Crunelle. “We all relate to our gender differently, and IPD is a recognition of the value that each of us brings to the world – not regardless of, but because of our gender. The events we’ve been planning are exciting because they’re so collaborative, bringing together people from across and outside of campus: blurring boundaries to recognize that there’s immense value in seeing each other as we wish to be seen.”
On Oct. 16, there’s also additional programming in select classrooms in partnership with We Are Family to promote their Closet Case thrift store. That evening, co-sponsors and organizers will have a meet-and-greet with We Are Family youth at their North Charleston social enterprise thrift store. Guests for the evening include Preston Souza and Alex O’Hanley from the Phluid Project in NYC, which offers gender-free clothing and accessories as a means of affirming the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We’re coming off of one of our biggest Pride celebrations and keeping the ball rolling on centering LGBTQ+ communities,” says Tessa Torgovitsky, president of Prism, a student-led organization that supports LGBTQ+ and ally students. “Events like this, when we get to work with campus and community partners, where we get to introduce people and uplift them, are what excite me most about working for LGBTQ+ equity on this campus.”
Oct. 17 is Spirit Day, which is intended to bring attention to LGBTQ+ bullying and show solidarity with LGBTQ+-identified youth. Guests from the Phluid Project will be on campus for a gender-free fashion show titled “Bold Bodies and Connected Communities” at 5 p.m. in the Stern Center Ballroom.
“I think it’s really significant that we are able to celebrate Spirit Day in conjunction with International Pronouns Day this year,” says Nijeeah Richardson, executive director of We Are Family. “So many of the young people we work with experience bullying in the form of purposeful misgendering, so we’re proud to be bringing awareness to the importance of respecting gender pronouns and the fluidity of gender in this year’s program.”