First time at Creating Change? What is it like?

Here are the quotes from a first time attendee , Lauren. Here is what she had to say about her experience this year at Creating Change.

“Everyone is friendly. It seems like everyone is in a great mood because they don’t have to hide, or explain themselves to everyone they meet. Usually, we are weird, the exception, the unexpected. Here, we are expected, and for the most part, understood. It’s a good feeling.”

“In my normal life, the assumption is that I’m straight. Nobody knows I’m bisexual unless I tell them. It’s not that people disprove, just that it usually isn’t relevant. Nobody really cares or wants to hear, and if I mention it, it seems incongruous and people assume I’m either hitting on them, or trying to be ‘sexy’ or ‘trendy’. Here, because of my Bi ribbon, everyone knows. And it’s a perfectly acceptable conversation topic. I wouldn’t talk about it ALL the time, but it feels good that its allowed.”

“I’ve never been in a place this friendly. Not just to LGBT people, I mean friendly in general. It’s so easy to meet people, and there’s no reason to be shy or cautious. It feels like you’re already friends.”

Interested in how you can attend the 2014 Creating Change conference in Houston? Or want to know about other conferences Spectrum and LGBTQIA Services takes part in? Send an email to rainbowroom@lehigh.edu

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Kathryn’s Third Day at Creating Change

Started the day out at a session on increasing inclusivity in campus organizations. I learned about ways to better include a dialog that was more accepting of multicultural groups, religious group, and the Trans* community. Within the session, a discussion on different Greek relationships was briefly sparked. Most interestingly, we talked about how different group names such as GSA, standing for Gay Straight Alliance can be exclusive instead of inclusive. I brought up that we call our group Spectrum and our space The Rainbow Room to be as inclusive and umbrella-ed as possible. I than attended the plenary. After the presentation of the Leather Leadership award, Kate Clinton brought up an interesting point. This year was full of victory for the rights of LGB people are their right to marry whom they wish. While on the other side it was not the best of years for Women’s reproductive rights and rape awareness, remember the comment about ‘legitimate rape’. There was also discussion about the rights of the undocumented and how the LGBT community is safe from job discrimination, at least in some places, the undocumented are never safe. This made me think, and I hope it makes you think about the rights of the undocumented. In the afternoon I attended a movie screening for “Love Free or Die” which is about Bishop Gene Robinson, who was the first LGBT bishop in the Episcopal Church. The film was inspirational, but the best moment was hearing Bishop Gene Robinson himself speak and answer questions. I later attended a workshop on the Trans* agenda, which provided me with resources I plan to use in future Trans* programming. Of course, the most important part of Creating Change is networking, so I attended the College Student Caucus, where I met students struggling with Ally-ship and Ally recruitment. I am so happy that I made such great friends and I look forward to seeing them again.

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Day 2 for Kathryn: New Patriot League friends, leadership skills, and ideas for programming

This morning I went to my third session with Jay Michaelson, “Talking about LGBT Issues with Religious Traditionalists:Best Practices and Pitfalls”. I always enjoy hearing what he has to say about using your personal story to work with people with different views. The real highlight of my morning was a session on leadership run by some people from oSTEM. I learned about dealing with problems that I didn’t even know we had. Issues like smoothing the transition between the different executive boards from year to year. I didn’t even realize how many things can be improved on. I also attended a fantastic session on the Trans Agenda. Part of my goal for this Creating Change is to be able to do programming for some of the underrepresented groups on campus. My way of doing that, I plan, is to show the greater Lehigh community that Spectrum supports Trans* rights by working on Gender Neutral Bathroom awareness. This session provided me with the resources I will need to accomplish this without compromising the cause.
Another underrepresented group are the Asexuals, so I attended their caucus and got
the card of Sara Beth Brooks from http://www.asexualawarenessweek.com. In addition, I
met someone from Vanderbilt University and talked to them about the Greek culture
there, because the campus wide Greek community has vast similarities.

Last, before enjoying a fabulous walk-off ball, I went to a youth reception. I was so excited to meet not only fellow college students there, but five people from other Patriot League
schools (HURRAY!!!). Two from Bucknell and three from American. We compared
the structure of our student groups as well as programming. The students from Bucknell
have a much more progressive Gender Neutral Housing and Bathrooms initiative,
While the students at American have incredible numbers for programs. I hope that I can
continue to cultivate the relationships I made today with these students as we all evolve
as groups, sharing resources and ideas.  Signing off with love.

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President Barack Obama addresses 25th Creating Change conference in video

During the State of the Movement Plenary this video from President Barack Obama was played for a record Creating Change crowd.

Watch full Plenary sessions at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf0CigC8FlJ2jEi_t8mQZpINcIZdOU17t

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About the Blogger & Learning to be more inclusive

Hi! My name is Lauren, better known as Zz. I’m a junior, majoring in Physics and Asian Studies, and current Secretary of Spectrum. I came to Creating Change last year and had an amazing, incredible, beyond anything I ever hoped for time, so getting the chance to go again, well, I really don’t think I can describe how happy I am.
Today I was able to attend a session called “Making the Invisible Visible: How Your Group Can Become More Bi Inclusive”. Spectrum is pretty decent about including the B in LGBT, from having bi representation on the eBoard (me!) And having Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist (and my hero) come as a speaker last semester, but I learned about many other things we could be doing to help welcome even more bi’s into our group.
Some examples, such as having more bi-specific programs and resources available, including bi sex ed tips in any sex education programs or pamphlets, and using words such as marriage equality instead of only gay marriage, are all easy to implement, and can go a long way in welcoming the group that makes up around 50% of the LGBT population. I also learned about a huge collection of bisexual resources available for both clubs and individuals.
Basically, I am now extremely prepared to help Lehigh become a much better place for bisexual (or pan, fluid, anything-else-sexual) identified or curious students.

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Kathryn’s experience at the Campus Pride: Queer It Up Action Institute

Today I went to the Campus Pride: Queer It Up Action Institute for the day. I met tons
of new people instantly in five separate mini ice-breakers. We than used pipe cleaners
to show a visual representation of three of our own identities. Personally, my struggle
with my religious identity, being Jewish by birth and blood but being Wiccan by choice,
is what makes me an Ally to the LGBTQQIA community. I have experienced some of
the same bullying and misunderstanding that this proud community has struggled with
and I identify with the struggle. I also met people who are interested in higher education
work and identify strongly with that cause. We then were broken into random groups
where we discussed issues that LGBT student groups have or might
encounter. After this discussion I went to lunch and met people from Florida, Colorado,
and even Alabama. My favorite part of Creating Change is always the people I meet
through the sessions and the fun conversations I have with them. I exchanged facebook
and twitters so that we can keep in touch after the conference. When I got back to the
Campus Pride Institute we had an opportunity to discuss issues that we had previously
considered areas of interest for us. I ended up in a group discussion of Trans* and gender
non-conforming inclusivity issues and met someone who goes to Virginia Tech. I want
to get more education out there for issues like gender neutral bathrooms, and I learned
about how to do this without having the “poster trans* person” to make people more
aware. Hopefully I can apply what I learned to help current and future trans* identified
people on the Lehigh campus to feel more comfortable in themselves.

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A little bit about the bloggers : Kathryn

 I am not exactly sure what to tell you about myself that will cover
everything that motivates me to do the advocacy work that I do. I’ll start with the
basics. I am in my third year at Lehigh. I applied early decision and could not imagine
myself anywhere but on the beautiful South Mountain. I study Molecular Biology, but
I spent the last two years as a dual degree with Bioengineering so I took lots of those
classes too. I am a member of both Spectrum and Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry
coed fraternity on campus. I joined both in my freshman year. In my time as a member
of Spectrum I have gradually upped my involvement. I went to Creating Change my
freshman year and preformed in the Drag Show. My sophomore year I was the Treasurer,
was the student coordinator for Creating Change, and worked on organizing the Drag
Show. This past year, as a junior, I brought the fabulous Robyn Ochs to Lehigh’s
campus in the fall and have been doing work as the Vice President of Spectrum and
now I am at Creating Change for the third year in a row :) In addition to all of these
things, I am also a part of the group of students who do alumni outreach for annual gifts
and have been a tour guide in the summer when I am not doing research. I plan to use
my time at Creating Change this year to educate myself on educating others on Trans*
issues as well as Asexual issues. All of that while having a great time meeting tons of
fabulous new people.

Check back later to read about Kathryn’s experience today at the Campus Pride:Queer It Up Action Institute

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