October 31, 2016
In passing, people often fail to think about how the words they use can be ignorant to people who may identify in a way that society has yet to understand.
On Oct. 25, the LGBT Resource Center and MOASIC hosted the annual Guess Who’s Gay Panel, an event that focuses on addressing stereotypes facing the LBGTQA community at UCCS.
Seven panelists whose sexual identities would be speculated on were introduced at the beginning of the event.
UCCS students and alumni, including Katie, a political science major; Loren, a visual arts and fi lm major; Ashlea, computer science major; Jay, criminal justice major; Miccella, chemistry major; and Violet, a WEST major, answered audience questions.
Jesse Perez, LGBT program director of MOSAIC, provided rules to ensure that the conversation remained respectful.
Perez outlined that the questions were not to be addressed personally at any of the panelists and the audience was to remain respectful in their questions.
Perez turned the event over to the audience, who were quick to begin asking questions to the panelists.
The event had a turnout of around 50 audience members. Students started the event by asking questions like, “what is your favorite color?” and “how many of you wear glasses?”
The audience continued to ask fun, trivial questions for 45 minutes during the two-hour event.
After a few laughs regarding obscure color choices and glasses humor, the audience took the questions in a new direction. One audience member began the more pressing questions by asking “are you single?”
Questions about the panelists’ sexual orientation and history were asked. Their answers provided an insight into how society discriminates against people that are different than the norm, placing them into difficult and unfair situations, according to Jay.
“I dislike when people say to me ‘oh well you’re just too young to know’ or ‘you just haven’t found the right person yet,’” said Jay.
Decisions regarding personal relationships were questioned as a manner of “immaturity” or a “lack of searching.” This aspect of the event illuminated the struggles faced by the LGBTQA community on a fairly regular basis.
The panelists touched on discrimination faced by the community as well. One panelist, Violet, stated that when revealing their personal gender identity, “v,” people would make terrible and discriminatory remarks toward them.
‘“When I tell people my gender identity they will say to me ‘so you’re a slut’ or ‘that’s creepy,’” said Violet.
The panelists spoke on how they have heard slurs regarding sexuality and received hate for being who they are. The stereotype that bothered Nick the most was the over-sexualizing of lesbian women.
“I hate it when people say that lesbians are ‘so hot.’ I mean, that is so objectifying,” said Nick.
More information on resources for LGBT students can be found at the LGBT Resource Center in University Center 110, or 255- 3447. Students can also utilize the Counseling Center by calling 255-4444.