Why Equality Isn’t Fair: A Lesson from Fourth Grade

This post is written by Madison Miller. It was originally featured on the Women’s Center WordPress, which you can find here.

With much discussion in Women’s Center staff meetings about actively applying our work in the Center as student staff members to other areas of our lives, I have recently been thinking a lot about how my experiences and education in social justice and activism coincide with the various roles and responsibilities I hold outside of the Center. Currently in the process of working towards receiving teacher certification in elementary education, one of my most valued roles this academic year is my internship as a student teacher in a fourth grade classroom. Watching my students embrace new concepts and grow as individuals each week has not only brought an immense amount of pleasure and fulfillment into my life, but it has also caused me to think rather critically about how learning in the classroom translates outside to the “real world”. I’m not talking about how that math equation we learned last week can help us to calculate a tip on a restaurant bill, or how that new vocabulary word can be used to impress our relatives, but instead about how simple classroom dynamics can set a pretty important example for those of us who are long removed from our own elementary school classrooms.

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Although we live in a society that preaches equality and fairness, perhaps one of the most important concepts I have learned in the classroom thus far is that equality and fairness are far from interchangeable terms. Continue reading

Guest Post: Honoring Stonewall, LGBTQ History Month, and Reina Gossett

This guest post was written by Women’s Center student staff member Ty Philip

In celebrating LGBTQ History Month, it’s important to remember those who don’t fit into the mainstream representation of the LGBTQ community. As the LGBTQ community has made gains in society, it is important to recognize that the face of the movement is increasingly white, cis, male, gay, upper class, able-bodied, and heteronormative. When arguments for marriage equality are made, our leaders look back to Stonewall as a way to validate their arguments. Stonewall, after all, sparked the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement in America. So it’s only right for us to assume that because the face of the LGBTQ movement today is one that is predominantly white, cis, male, gay, upper class, able-bodied, and heteronormative, it has historically been the face of the movement. We know that this is not true.

When we think of LGBTQ rights and Stonewall, we don’t think of all of the trans women of color who have both presently and historically risked their safety and continuously had their lives threatened in order to try to claim a right to navigate in our society. What we think of is people like Harvey Milk whose politics are catered towards those of a privileged LGBTQ identity. We think of Neil Patrick Harris, who is a living representation of the effects and benefits of those privileges. We don’t think of people like Sylvia Rivera, who was present on the actual night of the Stonewall riots. We Reina Gossettdon’t think of Reina Gossett, either, a trans woman of color who is representative of the same kinds of intersectional oppression faced by Sylvia and all of the others present at Stonewall. It is important to remember that what is the face of the community is not representative of the community itself, that there is marginalization within the community that leaves certain narratives untold.  Continue reading