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UNH GIA Week goes beyond the binaries

By Jamie Ritzo, Contributing Writer

The annual Gender Identities Awareness (GIA) week will be held from Nov. 17-21, 2014. This year’s theme is “Beyond the Binaries” — which fights against the division of sex and gender into two opposite “male” and “female” categories — and the scheduled daily workshops and meetings explore what it means to identify outside the roles of man/woman. This inclusive event is meant to foster a sense of community activism and greater understanding of identity differences.

The week offers opportunities to those who want to learn about gender fluidity, have ever heard of the term “genderqueer,” or are wondering how gender identities intersect with race, physical appearance and sexual orientation.

“I got involved with GIA last year as a freshman,” sophomore Casey O’Dea said. “It was a great way to get involved and educate people on campus and in the area.”

The week will kick off on Monday with a screening of the film ‘Valentine Road’ at 5 p.m. in MUB Theater I. This critically acclaimed film is based on the 2008 story of a junior high school student who shot and killed a gay classmate who may have had a crush on him. This movie is a must-see for anyone interested in the motivation behind hate-crimes, and what can be done to stop them. The screening will be followed by a Trans* 101 Workshop at 7 p.m. in MUB 203.

Tuesday brings a workshop on cisgender privilege and how to be a transgender ally from 12:40-2 p.m. in MUB Room 334/336 and a film screening of “Intersexion” from 5-6:30 p.m. in MUB Theater I.

The Waysmeet Center at 15 Mill Road will host on Wednesday for a special Community Circle event on Gender Identity and Spirituality from 5:30-7 p.m., followed by the week’s keynote panel speaking about trans people and their experiences from 7-8:30 p.m. in MUB Theater I.

On Thursday in MUB Room 334/336 from 12:40-2 p.m. there is a workshop promoting the resources available here at UNH for trans students and allies. In honor of the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, a moving candlelight vigil will be held Thursday from 7-9 p.m. in MUB Room 338/340 in memory of trans people who have lost their lives as a result of transphobic violence.

On Friday the Waysmeet Center is hosting a Transgender New Hampshire Potluck from 5:30-7 p.m. that is open to community members and students.

“I think it’s so important because people tend to be very ignorant about trans issues and really don’t understand the trans community at all,” O’Dea said. “I think that education and awareness is a powerful tool, and it’s great that UNH will have this week to help us gain more acceptance of the trans community on campus.”

These events are free and open to the public. More information is available on the Facebook page of the UNH Women’s Studies Program.

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