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An Evening with Janet Mock @ the University of Washington

Join the Q Center for a moderated discussion with Janet Mock! A book signing and meet and greet will follow the discussion.
All meet & greet participants must have a copy of Janet Mock’s book, Redefining Realness. Beginning in September, the Q Center is selling advance copies at a discounted price of $20 (cash or check). Please call the Q Center at 206-897-1430 or stop by HUB 315 for more information or to purchase.

***Doors open @ 6:30pm, event begins at 7pm in Kane Hall 120***

More event details coming soon!

Janet Mock Event Poster


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When Friends are Gross

I am a cis female who is pretty feminine and recently came out as bi to some of my closest friends. A lot of them are men. Do you have any experience with or advice about combatting comments like “Can I watch?” or “That’s so hot!” when it comes to sex between two women? It makes me really uncomfortable and is pretty hurtful, but I am usually at a loss of how to tell them these comments are not okay. Help me!

That’s so gross! That’s so disrespectful to you and they absolutely need to know that they’re being atrocious friends! I wish I could say that I haven’t experienced this (or something like this) before, but being a DFAB person in a social circle of mostly boys unfortunately puts you in a shitty position for emotional affirmation. Such is sexism. When I say “such is sexism,” that in no way translates to, “Oh well! That’s life!” I’m saying that this is something that happens because men are taught that they deserve access to women’s bodies and sexual experiences and it’s awful and needs to be called the hell out. In high school I was a part of a group of friends that was hyper male-dominated. While I had a ton of fun with them and in a lot of situations they made me feel incredibly supported and safe, it felt so often that my body was on display for them, and they totally took advantage of that. It’s really easy to pretend it’s not happening or that it isn’t an issue for the sake of retaining friendships that matter to you, but I’m really glad that you want to put a stop to it now. There are a few ways to handle it and this is something that definitely requires fine tuning depending on the actual people… you know how your friends respond to confrontation better than I do. There’s a big part of me that wants to say screw ‘em but friendships are important! Wrongs can be repaired sometimes! Ignorance can result in some hurtful stuff but it doesn’t come from a place of maliciousness, learning can happen, and if it’s something that you think is worth a shot I want to support you in that. So. Here are some possibilities:

  1. Pull them aside some time or do it over the phone if that’d make you more comfortable. Say that there’s something you want to talk about, and it’s important to you that they listen. Tell them they’ve hurt your feelings with the way that they responded to you coming out. Tell them that they’ve been really disrespectful and rude. Tell them you’re not a sexual object and the fact that they’re treating you as such when they’re supposed to be your friends is messed up to all hell. Tell them they’re being sexist and homophobic because they completely are. Tell them that if you have a relationship with another girl it’s for you and her, not for them.
  2. If they’re not responding well, maybe rephrase some things. Why do you assume I would let you observe a intimacy between me and a girl when I (presumably) haven’t let you observe intimacy between me and a guy? Why do you think a relationship between myself and a girl would be intrinsically different? Why do you think you are entitled to that part of me past what I have shared with you? Why do you think this involves you at all?
  3. I think it’s important that if nothing’s working at this point, you make it about yourself a bit. Coming out to them was a big deal. You know that and I know that and if they don’t know that, tell them. You took a big step and they’re tarnishing it and that sucks. They hurt you, and you need to know if they’re going to try to be more respectful of that in the future. Are they going to make an effort to not be total assholes about the fact that you’re not straight? Accountability and support from your friends is really, really important! You really deserve that from the people you’re close to!
  4. If you’re not getting good feedback at all like… dump these dudes. They’re not the kind of people who are going to treat you with the kind of respect that you need to have from your friends. It’s not cool that they responded to you coming out that way and if they can’t see that, aren’t willing to listen and apologize, aren’t willing to work to make you more comfortable, those are relationships you need out of. Ending relationships is not fun and kind of scary but you’re doing yourself a favor in removing toxic people from your life.

This is such a hard situation but I have a lot of regrets about letting my friends get away with the way that they treated me. A handful of them apologized down the line and made up for it with really strong support in other ways, but those who didn’t definitely turned out to be not so great friends in the long run anyway. You have to think about yourself here, and you have to know that you deserve comfort and safety from those you’re close to. That’s not an added benefit of friendship, it should be a guarantee.

I wish you a LOT OF LUCK and a LOT OF LOVE!

Oly

P.S. The featured picture is from this, mostly because it’s really cute :( Relevant! Applicable! But most just so cute :(


To Flirt or Not To Flirt?

if i like another girl and im not sure she’s gay should i tell her/hit on her? im not really experienced at all

Yeah! Why not. As I’ve addressed before, it’s not super easy to tell if someone’s queer or not. Someone can line up with all of your preconceived notions about what being queer looks like and be straight as an arrow, and vice versa. While there are totally little queer signals you can send out through your appearance, not seeing those doesn’t automatically mean someone ain’t queer. So, you don’t know if she’s gay. If that’s not a conversation you two have had, you don’t know if she’s straight, either.

This is a bit of a side note, but I’m not super into the term “hit on” because it seems like one in hundreds of phrases that treat romance and violence like they’re interchangeable. Also when I hear that someone’s being hit on, I’m tooootally given the mental image of some unsubtle, over-confident ass using a pick up line that lands somewhere between annoying and gross. Flirting, though, I am totally here for. Smile, compliment, show interest, and be genuine about it! Don’t touch without consent, keep their comfort in mind, and be earnest. I’m going to quote myself in that past DQ I just linked you, because I still 1000% agree with it. “Watch body language, listen to what they say, keep your intentions on the table.” I don’t think that hiding the fact that you’re interested in her is a good idea, I’m a huge supporter of honesty and candid conversations. If she is clearly not reciprocating, vocalizes her lack of interest, whatever, step back! Maybe take some time to emotionally move on from the mess of feelings that come with having a crush on someone, and then if you want to, go back and be her friend.

But unless you’re in a situation where you don’t feel safe, flirting is pretty harmless. And even if she isn’t interested, she might be flattered! And you’ll bulk up on your flirting skills. Not really a bad situation in my book. So, go for it. Don’t let not knowing prevent you from doing something that could make you happy!

Good luck!

Oly


Student Spotlight

The Q Center wishes farewell and a fabulous future to our graduating staff members! James, Ginger, and Lor filled us in on their favorite UW memory, the Q Center work they are most proud of, and what they look forward to after graduation.

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James, Ginger, & Lor

James (they/them/their pronouns)

Degree: BA in Anthropology

Post-graduation plans: I’m really looking forward to not having to read or write anything I don’t want to read or write anymore… Also, getting to spend more time with people! 

Proud Q Center work: So far, I am really happy about the different collaborations that have been happening out of the Q Center, especially with Qolors 2014, Queer API Narratives and just how much the presence of Queer People of Color has grown in different ways around campus. 

Favorite UW memory: My favorite UW memory has been meeting everyone that I have through the Queer People of Color Alliance (QPOCA) and being able to go to Queer Students of Color Conference (QSOCC) with them last year and again this year!

 

 

Ginger Colamussi (she/her/hers pronouns)

Degree: Master’s of Social Work (MSW)

Post-graduation plans: After graduation, I am looking forward to joining a nonprofit youth development organization that empowers young people to make healthy decisions, achieve their goals, and create positive change in their communities and in the world. In my personal time, I am also looking forward to reading for pleasure, hiking in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and spending more time with my amazing partner, Kelly, and my sweet dog, Boots.

Proud Q Center work: I have been the Queer Mentoring Program Coordinator for two years during my MSW program. I am most proud of growing the number of participants in this program to nearly 100 people! It’s been an incredibly exciting and humbling opportunity to meet so many motivated and engaged queer students, staff, faculty, and alumni at UW!

Favorite UW memory: My favorite UW memory is having the opportunity to see Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak on campus. What a warm, brilliant, and inspiring woman! <<Swoon>>

 

 

Lor (masculine/them/they pronouns)

Degree: Master’s of Social Work (MSW)

Post-graduation plans: Aside from scoring a job that fits with my professional focus of working with LGBTQ+ youth and families, I’m looking forward to reading something totally not related to school work and reconnecting with friends who I have not been able to spend much quality time with these past two years.

Proud Q Center work: The support work with various students and developing the grad school class for next spring.

Favorite UW memory: Hum…the many discussions over various libations in Shultzy’s with various cohort members and the laughter from a few folks in the Q Center over this year.

 


9th Annual Qolors Reception with Mia McKenzie

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Q Center Staff with Mia McKenzie

On April 9, the Q Center and the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center collaborated to host the annual Qolors Reception, celebrating and centering the experiences of queer and trans* people of color. Now in its ninth year, the reception drew a record crowd of 135 guests. The reception featured spoken word performances from two fierce Seattle youth, a community art piece, and a video project documenting the rich history of Qolors and its importance to the campus community. Mia McKenzie (founder and chief editor of the blog, Black Girl Dangerous) offered a candid keynote speech illuminating the theme, “We are enough. Reclaiming our power.”

View Mia McKenzie’s keynote speech.


Lavender Graduation 2014: Be Your Own Queen

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Every year, the Q Center and the ASUW Queer Student Commission host Lavender Graduation as a time for the UW queer, trans*, two-spirit, same-gender-loving, and allied communities to come together and celebrate our multiple identities, our accomplishments, and sheer AWESOMENESS. This year’s ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 10, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. in the UW Tower Mezzanine Lounge. We are excited to announce that local activist and Drag Empress, Aleksa Manila, will offer words for the graduates in celebration of our theme, “2014: Be Your Own Queen!” Read more about our royally fierce keynote speaker.

 

Participation in the Lavender Graduation ceremony is open to undergraduate and graduate/professional students who are eligible for graduation in the 2013-2014 (including fall 2014) academic year. Attendance is open to all other students, alumni and friends. Guests do not have to be graduating students or of a certain sexual or gender identity/orientation/expression to attend this year-end celebration. Everyone is welcome. If you would like more information about the ceremony or want to volunteer, please contact Jaimée Marsh at jaimeem@uw.edu or (206) 897-1430. To participate in the ceremony, graduates must register by June 4. We look forward to celebrating with you!


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Bathroom Politics

Hi Oly! I have an etiquette question for you. I am thrilled that UW is starting to designate some restrooms as gender-neutral. It’s a change that’s a long time in coming, and I’m sure it helps make the lives of trans* people a little easier. However, I’m cisgender, and I’m wondering if it’s ok for me to also use these restrooms. I want to respect the needs of the trans* community, but it seems like a lot of people avoid using them, and I think it would be terrible if “gender neutral” started getting a stigma. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks!

Hi! Good question! Bathroom politics are weird!

There are two different types of trans(*) inclusive bathrooms, and with that in mind there are two different answers to this question.

1. all-gender bathrooms – By this I mean multiple stalled bathrooms that are open to all people (like at the Vera Project or the basement of the art building). These bathrooms are ones that I’d encourage all people to use. I think it’s important to attempt to normalize these bathrooms! Please feel free! I think that these sorts of public restrooms are places where stigma can be questioned and combatted. It’s a situation where you can realize, “oh, this really… isn’t a big deal at all.” Use those bathrooms, encourage others to use them. Make a new normal.

2. universal bathrooms – Universal bathrooms are single stall bathrooms that are accessible to people who use mobility devices and they also provide changing tables for families. Don’t use these if there are other options. If it’s the only option in a building, go ahead, but they usually exist as an alternative to gendered, multi-stalled bathrooms. Like on the third floor of the HUB, about fifteen steps away from the standard bathroom option, there’s a universal bathroom. Don’t use this one! It’s definitely made to be available to everyone, but who needs it more? Who needed to fight for it? A lot of people use the universal bathroom in the HUB to change clothes, apply perfume (this isn’t chill, don’t make an accessible space inaccessible), drop a deuce, whatever. You can do that in other bathrooms. Don’t take away spaces designed to right wrongs!

As a reminder to everyone else, we have a growing list of gender neutral bathrooms on our website here! Another fun thing to pay attention to, if by fun you mean mind-boggling and irritating, is restaurants and the like that have single stall gendered bathrooms. WHY! WHY!!!!!! It makes absolutely no sense!

I’m glad you asked this because it’s definitely not so cut and dry, so thanks for being considerate of that. I hope this helped clear your confusion up!

Oly


Lavender Graduation!!

Lavender Graduation 2014: Be Your Own Queen!

A royally fierce celebration for the LGBTQ community, our friends, families, and allies!

Tuesday, June 10th
UW Tower Mezzanine Level Lounge
6:00 – 8:30 PM
Everyone is welcome!

Keynote speech & performance by Aleska Manila,

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Lav Grad Slide

To register, volunteer, or for more information, please visit http://tinyurl.com/lavgrad2014-volunteer. Register by June 4th!

Link for graduates to register (for web): http://tinyurl.com/uwlavgrad-register

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DIRECTIONS & ACCESSIBILITY-

The UW Tower is near the UW campus at 4333 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105, near Hotel Deca and the Neptune Theater. For a map, search UW TOWER on the campus map: http://www.washington.edu/maps/

-University District Metro Bus Routes can be found here: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/neighborhoods/university_district.html

-Driving directions:
From I -5 (Exit NE 45th), East on 45th. The Tower will be on the right side between 12th and Brooklyn facing 45th.

-Brooklyn Avenue is closed in front of Tower, please make parking arrangements on the street, on campus, or in the Hotel Deca parking lot)

-Parking at the UW Tower and on campus is $15. Parking is also available for a fee in the surface lot behind Hotel Deca.

-The UW Tower is wheelchair-accessible via the lobby entrance located on the plaza, west of the lobby security desk. Persons wishing to enter through the accessible entrance can do so by motioning to the lobby security officer who is able to remotely unlock the doors. Disability parking is available in the Tower garage, from which the building is accessible via the skybridge into the C-2 area of the building.

-An all-genders restroom can be found on every floor of the ECC, as well as binary bathrooms with multiple stalls.

-The UW Tower is not kept scent-free but we ask that you do not wear scented/fragranced products (e.g. perfume, hair products) or essential oils to/in the event in order to make the space accessible to those with chemical injury or multiple chemical sensitivity.

-We ask that smokers also store their coats/outer clothing that is regularly exposed to smoke outside the event space if possible (we will provide space for these items). We will have a scent-free area that is monitored by volunteers. We will have baking soda and scent free soap available if folks are asked to wash off scents.

-For more information about MCS and being fragrance free:
http://billierain.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Myths-and-Facts-About-Chemical-Sensitivity.pdf
http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html
http://www.brownstargirl.org/1/post/2012/03/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15.html

- ASL interpretation will be provided.

-Flash photography will be used during the reception. Some shots of the crowd may also be taken. The keynote will also be recorded, however audio and video will be focused on the speaker.

-The Mezzanine Cafeteria is a lounge/reception space, with overhead and natural lighting. There are large windows facing south.

-If you have questions, concerns or accessibility details that were not addressed here OR if you wish to volunteer, email jaimeem@uw.edu. All updates concerning the event and its accessibility will be posted here.


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Qmmunity Quarterly (Q2) – Spring 2014

In this edition:

Pride Points

We are proud to highlight a few of the Q Center’s accomplishments for the 2013-2014 academic year:

  • Participation in our Queer Mentoring Program more than doubled in the last year.  We’re now serving 94 participants!
  • We provided Safe Zone training to 530 people and counting…
  • Our student-run blog, Dear Queer, is wildly popular! Check out the four new blog posts from spring quarter.
  • We have over 1,600 Facebook followers! Like our Facebook page and/or join the Q Center’s Facebook group for daily updates from the Q.
  • We added 45 new books to our lending library.
  • We initiated several new programs, including three new support groups (Lavender Circle, Global Q, Trans*/GenderQueer), weekly walk-in advising hours, a healthy relationship workshop, a healthy sexuality series, and weekly social programming.
  • We collaborated with 29 different campus partners and community organizations on programming!  For instance, our collaboration with the Hub, Facilities, the Office of Planning and Budgeting, and the Office of Title IX & ADA Compliance has led to the creation of more gender neutral restrooms in the core of campus!

welcome to the q photoDid you know?

Did you know that the Q Center remains open during the summer? Our summer hours are: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and by appointment after hours.

 

 


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Inadequacy and Affirmation

Hello! I’m an amab transwoman, and I recently opened up to a few friends regarding it, and it feels good to have someone know! But, as good as it feels, I still worry and feel inadequate, especially when I compare myself to what seems to be everyone else’s idea of what a transwoman looks like or how she should be. I’m not incredibly masculine, but I have facial and body hair that I just plain don’t feel like dealing with sometimes, and a lot of my clothes read masculine. I’m not curvy in the slightest, and my shoulders and chest are way too broad. I feel a gross contrast between my appearance and what I feel should be my appearance. I want people to know that I’m female upon seeing me, but I feel like, even with changing my appearance in a conceivable way (clothes, makeup, et cetera), people aren’t going to recognize my identity.

First of all: congratulations! That’s such a huge deal and it’s really awesome that you’re in a place where you could do that.

Really disappointing answer: not everyone is going to recognize and validate your gender the way you deserve. Such is life in a shitty cis-normative/cis-centric culture. The satisfaction and comfort you’re going to find will be from Q communities, from understandings you build and conversations you have with your friends, from agency you dig out of yourself every time you affirm your identity as a woman on your own terms. I’m not going to give you platitudes of “don’t care what other people think!!!” because it’s not that easy, and we both know that. Trans women are getting a hell of a lot more visibility right now, and that’s beginning to change the conversation of gender in dominant narratives, but there’s still a lot of focus on the body and physicality (something Laverne Cox has complained about with regards to the objectification of trans women) and that doesn’t put us in a great place to have our emotional needs satisfied by people who aren’t super involved in queer discussions. A lot of people will recognize your identity and affirm your womanhood, and there are a lot of people who won’t. That sucks and I wish it wasn’t something I felt I needed to say. Of the people who don’t treat you the way you deserve and need to be treated, some will change! Some will educate themselves and reevaluate the way in which they interact with gender. But others, others whose brains are wrapped in layers of transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, and hate, might not. It’s not easy to cast their opinions aside. It’s infinitely easier to ruminate on the people in your life who deal you nothing but negativity. That said, I don’t think it’s going to be hard to convince you that doing so won’t be healthy, satisfying, or productive. So let yourself build community with people who do affirm your identity, and when you have the emotional stamina, work with the people in your life whose support matters to you.

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In this video Janet Mock calls out the bullshit that is “passing”; you don’t pass as a woman, you are a woman.

I hate the term passing, and if you watch the video linked in the photo caption, you’ll get an idea as to why. But. I am without a better phrase. “Passing” is really fuckin’ hard. It is expensive and stressful and requires so much time and energy… and it isn’t necessarily pay off! The way that you can gender yourself to the world is infinite, from using certain deodorants to hairstyles to color palettes, etc. It’s not any one way, and if you focus on the women you see around you, it’s easy to see that despite whatever stereotypes and standards we hold dear, there’s no one way to be a woman. Don’t hold yourself to a standard that isn’t mandatory, is harmful, is unrealistic and is not even really adhered to by cis women. Call people out when they question your authenticity as a woman because it’s misogynistic drivel and you deserve better. Try to not let people away with inflicting emotional violence on you — and let your friends stand by your side. There’s not one thing you can do to be the “right” kind of trans woman because that… doesn’t exist. Find power in the ways in which you have been able to become comfortable with identifying yourself that way, because that’s amazing. I hope this helps. I know that I’m not exactly known for giving concrete, step-by-step advice, but ideally something in this mess of words will help in some way.

Good luck, so much love to you, and again, congratulations on telling some of your friends.

Oly