The Daily Eastern News

Students to take Safe Zone training for Gender, Sexual Diversity month

Logan Raschke, Staff Reporter

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A “Screaming Queens” viewing and Safe Zone core training program will be available this week to educate students about gender and sexual diversity.

Kurt Ness, assistant for the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, said “Screaming Queens” is a documentary about members of the transgender community fighting against police brutality in San Francisco before the Stonewall riots.

“The Stonewall riots really kicked off the GSD rights in a way,” he said. “(Protestors rioted) against police because they were being constantly harassed and having police brutality brought against them just because they were trans or within the GSD community.”

Jessica Ward, coordinator for the GSD center, said people often think the 1969 Stonewall riots is what started the GSD movement, but they do not hear about the 1966 Screaming Queens.

“Most of the time within the GSD community, we know more about Stonewall. That’s like a pinnacle moment of our history,” she said. “We don’t know as much about what happened before that.”

Ward said Safe Zone core training educates those who do not know about gender and sexual diversity. The core training is their fundamental two-hour program that goes over basics of GSD education.

“Brown bags,” or specific programs like Trans 201 for example, serve as an extension to the broader Safe Zone core training, Ness said.

At the end of the Safe Zone core training, attendees can get a sticker showing others at Eastern that they have completed the program, Ward said.

“When people see that Safe Zone sticker, they know you’re safe and accepting to talk to,” she said. “Pretty much what that sticker has turned into within Eastern is that people are open and accepting and not just in the GSD community, but they are open (people).”

Ward said that the programs and events the GSD center hosts are interesting and serve as good ways to educate students.

“When you look at history books growing up, nothing GSD is in those history books whatsoever,” she said. “So, unless you really go out and try to get that information, you’re not getting it. It’s not getting fed to you like other history is.”

People usually have a general idea about gender and sexual diversity, but attending the programs helps to expand their knowledge and to communicate with others in the community, she said.

Both the viewing and the training will be held on Thursday.

The Safe Zone core training program goes from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the Effingham Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, and the “Screaming Queens” viewing and discussion will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Charleston/Mattoon Room of the Union.

The GSD center and PRIDE student organization are hosting a number of other programs and events in October, which is GSD History Month.

Just a few of these events include the International Pronouns Day Tabling on Oct. 17, Queering Religion on Oct. 23 and PRIDE’s Student Drag Show on Oct. 30.

Ward said her favorite event is the Student Drag Show because of how fun and collaborative it is for students and staff.  She said PRIDE hosts the Student Drag Show once every semester, and this October’s show will be Halloween themed.

“These are students, and they’re literally performing a lot of it for their first or second time, so it’s very different from the professionals that come in,” she said. “(The performers) are kind of like my kids. I’m like, ‘Oh, my babies are up there performing.’”

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Students to take Safe Zone training for Gender, Sexual Diversity month