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Friday, December 12, 2014

Intern of the WEEEEEK!!

Hi All out there in TV land!!

It's time for our INTERN OF THE WEEK!!

This week's debut is Hyleen R. of the awesome Women's Program. Hyleen is an amazing artist and has done some exceptional work for us here at the GSEC. You've probably walked past some of her designs on our Sandwich board. She is one of our Public Displays of Activism interns and a photography intern. Much of our pictures on our facebook are her works of art! Hyleen also has been one our great minds here to come up with content for our Feminist Fridays which we hope everyone has enjoyed this semester. Be on the look out for more wonderful things to come from Hyleen!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Around the World in LGBTQ+ Days by Travis Cunningham

The United States has been making huge strides in the fight for equity of the LGBTQ+ population and I'm very appreciative of this. The fight for marriage equality is well under way with more and more states overturning their marriage bans so I can't help but think about where we should turn to next. Thinking about what our future struggles as a community will be got me thinking about the progress that is being made in other parts of the world. So I've been looking at what current events are happening in other countries and have found some interesting things that I'd like to share with y'all.


First up is the Islamic world. Typically when we think of the Islamic world, we first think about the Middle East and their social policies towards women and all the wars that have gone on and are continuing there. Honestly, I wouldn’t put LGBTQ+ issues in the area at the forefront of their priorities. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of advancement in the advocacy for equality and justice for the community over there. Check out this article which talks about a couple of cases for trans people in the Middle East and the Islamic world. (


Next on the stop is China. China has been making quite a bit of a stir in international politics so it’s quite interesting to see things that are progressive for the community over there. Over in the Asian world, they have an app similar to Grindr called Blued. Blued is a dating app for the gay and lesbian communities to find their ideal partners. As part of their development, they agreed to increase awareness about HIV and create an extensive HIV prevention campaign in exchange for funding. Over 15 million people have joined it. (


Over in the UK, the city of Brighton recently received a new license allowing them to host their annual Pride event until the year 2020. I personally view that as an awesome occurrence because now they have guaranteed approval from their city council for the next 6 years for their Pride Celebration. (


In Botswana, a country in South Africa, a court case has been ruled in favor of an LGBTQ+ group. They were blocked from registering as an organization by the Department of Labour and Home Affairs. However, a judge ruled this illegal, stating that since there were no laws strictly prohibiting the formation of such a group, that the formation should continue as normal. This is an amazing thing to see since within the country there are laws in place that significantly punish gay sex. Many are overjoyed seeing this act as a significant step towards legitimizing the LGBTQ+ movement and decriminalizing homosexuality in all of Africa. (


A high school in Japan not too long ago held a ‘Sex Change Day’ aimed at allowing boys and girls to explore a day the others uniforms. Japan is a country whose school system relies on heavily entrenched gender role. This event was seen as a way to promote a message of tolerance and acceptance, and to challenge traditional notions of gender. I feel it’s nice to know that as part of the event they were taught about the perception of gender and how changing their established roles can influence themselves and others. (


I believe it to be important to know what is going on in countries around the world in regards to their social and political policies and am hopeful that everyone is taking steps towards ending intolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community and promoting acceptance and understanding.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Intern of the Week


The last but certainly not least important member of our LGBTQ+ Program intern team is Travis! He has not only been an integral part of the Queer Week and LGBTQ+ Conference planning processes but has also somehow found time to write some pretty amazing blogs and contribute to the SPARK newsletter. After just transferring here last semester, Travis has done a great job of getting involved and making a difference and we can't wait to see all of the amazing work he will do in the future!

Monday, November 10, 2014

We All Deserve to Be Happy by Taylor Holmes

I wish I could say that when I realized I was gay I threw myself a coming out party and painted my room rainbow but unfortunately I had to go through a different (and much lonelier) phase first. When I was first coming out and still trying to navigate who I was and who I wanted to know about my sexuality and who I wanted to keep in the dark, I took many precautions to hide my “gayness”. Not only was I worried about what my friends would think, but also I worried about my family. I come from a pretty religious household and my mom has told me on several occasions that being gay is inherently wrong. This made me think long and hard about how and when I wanted to go public with my sexual orientation. So I filtered what I posted on Facebook, cleared my YouTube search history so people wouldn’t know that I had watched almost every Tegan and Sara video on the internet, only wore my rainbow bracelet around certain friends, and was very careful to avoid any conversation about dating. This one foot in and one foot out of the closet phase was nerve wracking to say the least. Too many hours were spent agonizing over what people would think if they knew and I still thank God that Chico offers free counseling services because if not, I would be so far in debt that paying tuition would be the least of my worries.

Then, over a long period of time, I had several revelations.

1.       Being queer is great.

2.       Caring about what other people think about me being queer is exhausting.

3.       I deserve to be happy.

That last one may not seem like much of a revelation but after years of living only to please others, it was a big step for me to realize that I was allowed to take control of my own life and make decisions that would make me happy.

After these revelations, I entered phase two. During this time, I couldn’t help but work my sexuality into conversations where I really didn’t need to bring it up. No longer was I worried about people knowing that I am gay, so naturally, I chopped off all of my hair, my outfits became more and more rainbow themed, and you could bet your life savings that I was going to be in the front row of every GSEC event and Pride meeting. Looking back on this time period now, I am tempted to say that I am embarrassed but the reality is that I’m not. I’m actually really proud of myself for going through phase two. In reaction to phase one, I needed a time when I was really and truly proud of exactly who I am. I needed a time to celebrate the actualization of all of the dreams and feelings I had always been too scared to express.

Now I’m in phase three? Yeah, I guess that sounds about right. My hair is still short and now I intern at the GSEC but my rainbow attire has (mostly) shifted to just buttons on my backpack and for the most part I can get through a conversation without mentioning that I’m gay. Cass’ Identity Model and theory of the coming out process would say that I am in stage six: Identity Synthesis. This is the final stage of the long and sometimes painful process of accepting who we are and is also when people often realize that sexual orientation is only one aspect of who we are and not our entire identity.

While the road to get here hasn’t always been the smoothest and I’ve lost some passengers along the way, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I needed to go through the confusion, the self-acceptance, the intense pride of who I am, and the realization that I am also so much more than just one identity. I know that I wouldn’t have made it here without my friends, some family, and the GSEC, all of whom have been here for me through the entire process, even when I’m sure I annoyed the hell out of them during my brief period of obsession with Ellen Page. They all recognized that each of those steps were so important to my process of figuring out who I am and I am a testament to the fact that we need places like the GSEC and Pride to help people along the way. The fact of the matter is that the barriers I faced when coming out were miniscule compared to what so many LGBTQ+ youth face around the world. Without continuing resources and support, we will continue to see too many lives lost to hate. It may seem like a small revelation, but we all deserve to be happy and I am so immensely thankful to those that constantly reminded me of that.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Intern of the Week!

Next on our list of fabulous Women's Program interns is Holly Wisdom! We are so thankful to Holly for her dedication to the GSEC which can be seen in the countless hours she has worked to come up with creative new button ideas and help plan our weekly Feminist Fridays. Holly is also a constant positive presence in the GSEC office and is always willing to help out with any task or just be a welcoming and friendly face when visitors come to our office.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Intern of the Week!

It's that time of the week again for our INTERN OF THE WEEK! This week we debut Taylor! Taylor is one of the fantastic interns here at our LGBTQ+ Program. She's producing some of the best content for our blog and working dutifully on our newsletter: Spark! She has also been one of our leading points of contact in regards to our speakers and panelists for the many events we have been putting on. Taylor is one of the most dedicated and driven individuals we have had the pleasure of working with here at the GSEC. Learn more about her from her placard and be on the lookout for more of her awesome work!


When I think of Feminism by Travis Cunningham

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
“You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man.”
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality of the sexes
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
When I think of feminism, I think of my mother. She’s a brave, level headed woman who has survived numerous hardships in her life and has been able to persevere despite them. I would not be here without her and her drive.
When I think of feminism, I think of the wonderful women in my life who fight discrimination and harassment on a daily basis.
When I think of feminism, I think about the liberties and freedoms that women have now but were once not given.
When I think of feminism, I become proud of the steps that we have taken as a society to help advance the marginalized and the oppressed. I think of the accomplishments that many women have achieved. I think about the good that has come of it and how necessary it is for all of womankind.
When I think of feminism, it becomes clear to me that we have a lot of work as a society to abolish these established methods of discrimination that perpetrate against women and the marginalized. I think about how sad it is that feminism is necessary and that we haven’t learned to treat each other as equals yet.
When I think of feminism, I think of the stereotypes and the imposed lifestyles that women have to struggle with. I think of how difficult it must be for them to fight others expectations of what a woman should look like, or act like, or have between their legs.
When I think of feminism, I think about the women of our future, and what they can aspire to because of the work the women who have come before them have done.  
When I think of feminism, I think of the masses of men who support women in their struggle for equality.
When I think of feminism, I think of how happy I am it exists. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Intern of the Week!

This week's intern of the week is Rachel Schmit or as we like to call her, Schmitty! 
Schmitty is our one and only Intern Coordinator Assistant so she helps our Intern Coordinator with things like keeping track of inventory, writing press releases, maintaining our office calendar of events, taking our Monday night meeting minutes, and sitting in on both the LGBTQ+ and Women's Program meetings. This is Schmitty's second semester as an intern and we don't know what we would do without her valuable insights from past intern experiences or her amazing organizational skills and attention to detail.

Take a look at her lovely intern information placard below and be on the lookout for more press releases for the rest of our events throughout the semester!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Intern of the Week!

Hi there!

This week’s Intern of the Week is Analicia Hawkins! Analicia is an AMAZING intern in our LGBTQ+ Program here at the GSEC! She is doing some excellent work in collaboration with Amelia on their Radio Show (Wednesdays 2-3pm KCSC Radio). Below are some fun facts about her. Fun Fact #2: She loves to skydive and has even flown a plane. She describes herself as an Adrenaline Junkie! We can’t wait to see all the great things she’ll accomplish at the GSEC this semester!

Wait... what's cisgender?

by Taylor Holmes

So let’s get one thing straight: there are more than two genders. To complicate things even further, there are actually more than two sexes as well. Some of you may be asking yourselves…wait, aren’t sex and gender the same thing?  Don’t worry, that’s what I thought for a long time too so I don’t blame you if you are already confused. One way I like to think of it is that sex is between your legs and gender is between your ears which may be a little simplistic but sometimes the visual helps.
Let me explain.

Sex is determined by biological differences such as internal and external sex organs, hormonal profiles and chromosomes and generally people are assigned male, female, or intersex at birth. Gender on the other hand is determined by how you personally identify which is why I said that gender is between your ears. No one other than you can decide which gender you identify with and because it is entirely up to each individual there is a wide array of genders that people can identify with. To put this into perspective, there are about 7 billion people on this earth and that means that there are actually about 7 billion gender identity possibilities. Unfortunately society seldom recognizes more than two or maybe three genders on a good day.

Whenever you fill out a form at a doctor’s office, have to decide which bathroom to use, determine which department you want to shop in at a clothing store or attempt to sign up for a gender specific sports team, more often than not you are forced to decide between identifying as either a man or a woman. This is called a gender binary system and while this happens to work for most people in our society, the fact of the matter is that it simply doesn’t work for everyone.

You see, gender is actually a spectrum. Sure, there are plenty of cisgender men and cisgender women, but there are also people who identify as trans* which is often seen as an umbrella term and can include people who identify as transmen and transwomen as well as many other folks who don’t fit into the binary system.  There are also many other genders and depending on who you ask they may or may not be seen as falling under the trans* umbrella. Some examples of these gender identities include: genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, gender non-conforming, androgynous, bigender, gender variant, pangender, two-spirit, and many others.

If your mind is blown right now, don’t worry! Mine was too when I first learned about how many gender identities there are and how ignored they are by our society at large. For many of us who identify as cisgender (meaning our sex assigned at birth matches up with our gender identity) we never give a second thought to which box to check on the doctor’s form, which bathroom to use, which department we want to buy our clothes from or which sports team to try out for. This is called cisgender privilege and unfortunately because of the way our society is set up we are never forced to think about our own privilege.

Now that you have potentially been made aware of your own privilege for the first time ever, what can be done about it? I know for me at least, I was caught in a pretty long phase of guilt. I just couldn’t get over all of these things I was just given simply because I was assigned female at birth and also happen to identify as a woman. How on earth is this fair? As my mom always says, life just isn’t fair.

While I recognize that life isn’t fair, I know that there are plenty of things that I and everyone can do to narrow the gap. Here are a few examples:

1.       Don’t assume gender.
Often times we feel a need to put people in boxes and determine how one identifies when in reality it really doesn’t affect us at all. Just ask yourself, do you really need to know?

2.       Use inclusive language.
Instead of saying, “Hey you guys!”, “How can I help you ma’am?”, “How are you sir?” drop the gendered phrases and se general greetings like “Hey everyone!” or simply ask “How can I help you?”

3.       When creating forms or surveys avoid making people only decide between “male/female” or “man/woman”.
To give people more freedom to self identify you can always just leave a space for people to fill in their sex or gender if they choose to do so.

4.       Ask for preferred gender pronouns.
If I were greeting someone new and wanted to know what pronouns they were comfortable with I could say, “Hi, my name is Taylor and my preferred pronouns are she and her. What’s your name and preferred pronouns?”

5.       Check your privilege and be aware of things that you do which can be exclusionary to non-binary folks.
Here is a link to a great list of Cisgender privileges that you may not be aware of:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Intern of the Week

This week's Intern of the Week is Amelia Watkins! Amelia is a senior studying gerontology and she is an intern within the Women's Program. Some of Amelia's office jobs include working on maintaining our social media outlets, coming up with new topics to discuss on the GSEC radio show (every Wednesday 2:00-3:00), and creating Public Displays of Activism. Below are some more fun facts about Amelia such as her favorite author, favorite animal, and her almost obsessive need to make a wish at every 11:11.
We look forward to all of the great things Amelia will bring to the GSEC this semester!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feminist Fridays Poster

Feminist Fridays Press Release

Rachel Ward, Intern Coordinator
AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center
(530) 898-5724

The AS Gender & Sexuality Equity Center introduces FEMINIST FRIDAYS

CHICO, Calif.- The Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) is happy to announce that we are hosting Feminist Fridays in Trinity Commons from 10am-2pm starting October 10th and continuing through December 5th.  Feminist Fridays aim to empower, support, and create solidarity between activists and aspiring activists of all genders on Chico State’s campus. This semester we will be focusing on intimate partner violence, self-love, and the need for developing feminist identities. Our semester-long Feminist Friday campaign will give students, staff, faculty, and community members the opportunity to be proactive in their activism by participating in a different activity each week. All participants will receive a free button for each activity they complete. Those who choose to wear an activist-themed shirt will also be entered to win a feminist-themed basket. Winner will be selected on the last Feminist Friday of the semester, December 5th. Listed below are the themes for each week:

October: Intimate Partner Awareness 

10/10 Violence: It's Not Just Physical

10/17 Hands are Not for Hitting Pledge
10/24 Consent Couch with UMatter
10/31 Consent Video Premiere
November: Self-Love
11/7 Negativity Balloon Release
11/14 Self-Love Photo Campaign and Challenge
11/21 Positive Affirmation Exchange
December: This is What a Feminist Looks Like
12/5 I Need Feminism, Because…

For more information, please email our Women’s Program Coordinator at

The Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center [GSEC] is a student-run activist organization that strives to empower all students through its two programs: the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ+ Program. The GSEC challenges societal norms that have been used to oppress and marginalize by providing opportunities for leadership, personal development, and referral services. We offer a safe and inclusive space where the campus and community can effectively support the academic mission of the university.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Intern of the Week

Hola Dear Reader!

This week for our Intern of the Week we present to you Lauren!! Below is Lauren's "Meet the Intern" placard with some cool facts about her. Lauren is doing an amazing job in the LGBTQ+ Program and making tons of headway with the FREE Feminist and Queer Library in our office. Be on the look out for her up-and-coming book review!


A comment on Trans Representation in the Media by Travis, A LGBTQ+ Program Intern

Hi readers!

So just as a disclaimer, I am merely a person who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community and in no way have any significant idea of what it is like to be transgender or have issues revolving around being so. But I do care about many of the issues going on in the LGBTQ+ community and would like to help increase the visibility of them.

Something that I would like to talk about is the visibility of the transgender community in our society. But just to be clear, this is a sensitive topic so I’ll try to be delicate.

So it’s a widely known truth that the majority of people in this world as of today, identify as cisgender. This means that they as individuals feel comfortable living as the gender that their sex often times coincides with. So like, I was born and deemed male due to the genitalia I have and while growing up, I felt comfortable living in a male identity. This is just some helpful info for those of you who don’t know. However, there are many individuals who don’t feel as I do, and those people often times feel comfortable using the umbrella term Transgender.

So (and I’ll try to stop starting these little paragraphs with so), if you’re a fairly up-to-date person and are current with many new and popular events you’ll know that Orange Is The New Black (OITNB) just came out with a second season on Netflix! It’s an awesome and hilarious show and I totally recommend it to everyone. It does a significant service for the LGBTQ+ community, in my opinion, because it touches on issues going on with the community and helps bring at least some modicum of visibility to it. And one of the most recently popular stars of the show is the ever-amazing Laverne Cox. She has received so much praise for her role as the lovely Sophia Burset for being not only a great actress but also for being a great role model for the transgender community.

To be honest though, while watching OITNB I realized that I haven’t consciously seen any other famous transgender actor or actress in some time; and not even outside of acting. It feels like the media hasn’t given much attention to this community. It was a weird and eerie feeling. I think the last famous out trans person I had heard about before Laverne Cox would have to be Chaz Bono who’s a great guy and is an amazing activist for the LGBTQ+ community. I find it really bothersome though that I there isn’t as big of a voice for the trans community as there should be. We know it’s not because there’s a lack of content; there are tons of issues going on within the trans community, such as homelessness, employment insecurity, high rates of violence, etc. But it feels like there are only niche avenues to learn about what’s going on in the community and that they exist only for individuals who are looking specifically for this kind of information or those who are already involved in issues surrounding it.

In light of my little rant, there is a new show on Amazon called Transparent that I feel is talking about being trans in a positive light, and bringing some much needed attention to the less talked about trans community. It might not be a great show or even a good show, but at least it’s happening and will helpfully get more and more people to at least think about the community and to start conversations. It's nice to see that television has taken the step to increase the amount of trans roles lately, but the next big step is to have more trans actors portraying these roles. So in the end really all this is is a PSA to y’all that trans people are in your community and their issues are real!