It wasn’t until Safe Space training this afternoon that I realized the scope of gender identity, sexual orientation and privilege. Not all people understand the conscious efforts and decisions “minorities” have to make in their everyday life. In an activity towards the end of training, nine students rose their hands and put them down as soon as they lost their privilege. For the purposes of the activity, it was assumed everyone was a white straight male and 90 percent of the population was homosexual. One by one, everyone’s hand fell. It wasn’t until half way through the activity that I realized the roles were reversed and they were homosexual males being victimized by the heterosexist society.
People we harassed at a movie theatre in Birkdale, one person couldn’t study abroad in the country of they choice, one person didn’t connect with anyone at work, and another person was fired from their summer camp job. All of this violence comes down to gender dynamics in today’s society. Men can’t be seen as feminist and women can’t be seen as masculine. The victimization has only grown with the help of technology. Last month alone, 1 million people tweeted the word fag and 800,000 tweeted the word dyke.
These problems need to be addressed on campus and throughout the country if any real progress is going to made going forward. We can’t just expect to wake up one day and have life before us change. I thought the training was extremely provoking and interesting.