The Maneater

TriCo, Fluidity co-host 'This is How We Do Gender'

The discussion was part of the ongoing Pride Month events.

Students discuss gender identity at Memorial Union in 2011 as a part of the You in Mizzou lecture series. To kick off Pride Month, TriCo partnered with Fluidity on Wednesday night to discuss ways in which people identify with their gender. Maneater File Photo

Four panelists discussed how they experience and perform gender in different ways in their lives during the "This is How We Do Gender" event on Wednesday.

TriCo partnered with Fluidity to co-host the event, one of the first during Pride Month. It was held in the LGBTQ Resource Center.

After each panelist spoke, the floor was open to questions from the audience.

Junior Laura Herrera, one of the panelists, said she identifies as non-binary, which means she often dresses in what is considered clothes of the opposite sex. She also discussed her unique experiences in living and participating in a sorority. She said she would get looks when she walked through Greektown because she did not look like a typical sorority woman.

“It’s kind of like a love and hate relationship with Greek life,” Herrera said.

TriCo Vice President Paul Reeves said this event is something they don’t get to do that often.

“I love that we can have this discussion about these issues and talk about them … explaining and sharing our stories is a good way for people to actually learn,” Reeves said.

Reeves also said he hopes people come out of this event learning more about the fluidity of gender.

“Gender isn’t about male or female, necessarily,” Reeves said. “It can be both, and, either, or, in-between, neither. Gender is one of those things that it’s such a big part of our society, but it’s never discussed in a way where we can embrace the fluidity and the variety and the diversity of people and gender.”

Reeves said Pride Month not only continues educational efforts but also brings in a celebratory element.

“(It’s about) celebrating our identities and celebrating our community and showing the campus at large that we’re here and we’re never going away and we’re going to be here forever,” Reeves said. “We’re proud of who we are and we love who we are and we love everybody, and everybody should be loved.”

Fluidity co-facilitator Jaay Cosby said the event was an opportunity for people who had these issues to get together with people who are interested about learning about it and really share that information and open up the dialogue.

“I don’t think this event is the official answer, but I think … what will help it change is just the discussion,” Cosby said.

Cosby hopes the event will get attendees and students to start asking questions.

“I hope that it will start allowing people to see gender as not just a social construct but as something more than that, something that’s really fluid and something that can be defined for yourself,” Cosby said. “Something that people can take away from that, even if it’s not something for them personally, that they explain to their co-worker.”

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