In June 2000, then President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month. In 2016, former President Barak Obama added Transgender to the Pride month celebrations. On June 8th, 2017, to celebrate Pride month, South Jersey Women for Progressive Change (SJWPC) hosted the “Gender Identity 101 Workshop” at the Cherry Hill Library. The workshop was facilitated by the renowned Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia. The Mazzoni Center has worked to address the health and well-being needs of the LGBTQ community for over 30 years.
Twenty five people came out to develop a deeper understanding of gender identity, dispel myths and misinformation, and to gain effective tools as allies with which to advocate for progressive and positive change. The workshop provided an opportunity for education and action. Julia Smout, SJWPC’s Politics 101 Co-Chair, provided a comprehensive look at the legal, social, health and emotional challenges that gender fluid and transgender people face in America. Participants were introduced to the Gingerbread Person tool to help define the differences between gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. And, lastly, Romeo Sioux and his mother, Danielle Brown, shared their personal family story of Romeo’s journey towards his authentic self.
We were all called to action utilizing the 52 Things that YOU Can Do for Transgender Equality handout as our guide. We learned that action can be as simple as the following:
- Understand the history of the LGBTQ experience in our country
- Ask a person their preferred pronouns upon introduction
- Support the national Day of Silence (April 27, 2018) in which students across the country take a vow of silence to bring awareness to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination, to
- Donate money to an organization that provides direct support to the LGBTQ community
- Visit the office of your local, county and/or state representative to educate them about LGBTQ issues and to understand their positions on transgender rights
Join us and Celebrate Pride month with South Jersey Women for Progressive Change. Take action and bring about a better world! #Pride2017