Courageous Conversations ends with a talk on gender identity and sex

Mitch Smith

STATESBORO — Courageous Conversations ended the three part series with a discussion on gender identity and sex.

Takeshia Brown, director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Maurice Nelson, coordinator of diversity education and program outreach, lead the talk for the third and last time this semester for the series of Courageous Conversations.

Nelson reminded everyone of the three rules for the series which are be respectful, be open minded and be comfortable being uncomfortable.

“This is a difficult conversation to have because of misunderstandings,” Nelson said. “This was all about learning and the goal is to develop a foundational level of understanding how to navigate interaction with people who have different gender identities and sexual or romantic orientations.”

The difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation was addressed because this concept can be confusing to some people, as most people assume these two orientations always overlap. Nelson defines the terms as,

“Sexual orientation is the type of person you want to have intercourse with or the type of person that you’re sexually attracted to. Romantic orientation is the emotionally intimate connection with a(n) individual(s) and/or how we love them.”

“That’s Gay” was the title of the sheet passed out to everyone to complete as an activity. The purpose was to match the word/term with its definition, the words/terms were: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, Transexual, Cross Dresser, Intersex, FTM, Gender Queer, Ally, GLBTA, U-Rap, HRC, GLAAD. This was a test to see how familiar each person was with these terms and definitions and show people that they might not know as much as they think they did.

“The Gender Unicorn” is a graphic made by the Trans Student Educational Resources. The graphic takes the concepts of gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, who people are physically attracted to and who people are emotionally attracted to and displays these concepts in a way that might be easier to understand for some people.

“We have to be open minded, and we have to be open minded in understanding that someone else’s experiences may be different than ours,” Nelson said. “So we have to remove our own lens and our own way of thinking to really understand that based on another person’s identity there may be another way of thinking.”

The Student Advisory Committee hosts Courageous Conversations in order to bring faculty and students together to provide a place and allow time for concerns to be addressed and dialogue to occur that otherwise might not happen.

Mitch Smith, The George-Anne News Reporter, [email protected]