This video series is inspired by M-A’s motto “Strength in Diversity.” Most of the school’s conversations on diversity revolve around race, and while that is an important conversation to be had, it tends to overshadow the other aspects of diversity on campus. The purpose of this project is to show that there are many different types of diversity that strengthen our community, one of which is gender. In this series you will see interviews of M-A students and staff describing their experiences living outside the gender binary. Non-traditional gender identities have only recently become visible in mainstream media, and as a society we are yet to achieve full acceptance and understanding of these individuals.
Gender studies teacher Anne Olson answers the question: What is gender?
"When we look at gender, we look at society's expectations for certain traits that we have that align with masculinity or femininity. Our gender is how we identify."
M-A college counselor Brad Ward speaks on her experience as a transgender staff member:
"When I was growing up, there was no such thing as transgender."
Interviews with transgender students:
"Gender is a spectrum. If you feel that you don't fit within the box that you were put in before you could speak, before you could think critically, then you should definitely hop out of that box."
"Pronouns are not a thing that you generally ask for... so there is a lot of confusion between me and my classmates. While the teacher knows I identify as he/him or they/them, the students don't, so they assume she and that really hurts."
Interviews with gender fluid students:
"I think they [administration] are trying. The only issue is that they don't know how to help make it a safer environment. But they are definitely trying to understand us better, we just need to get a dialogue going."
"Gender fluid specifically is basically where your gender identity seems to change... over periods of time it flows back and forth and you're comfortable with it flowing like that."
Interview with an agender student:
"Different cultures have completely different understandings of gender. Some are far more accepting. For them, historically, there has been a gender non-binary, but for a lot of them it's just a completely foreign and new concept and it's not welcome at all."