First, THANK YOU to the student who wrote a response to Healthy Bodies Week (HBW) in last week’s Record! We don’t call ourselves allies because we always get it right, we call ourselves allies because we are committed to improving the ways we interact with and support one another. Thank you for expressing your concern with the way we presented HBW and thank you for holding us accountable for inclusivity and being welcoming to all peoples. We are grateful.
Second, we hope you know that we have thought about this, too. How can we, as cisgender women in charge of a group catering to GC “women,” better include our friends who may not identify as closely to the binary categories of woman or man but who also need a space/place/community to feel loved, respected and accepted within? Who also need a way to talk about, explore and learn to love their own bodies, whether they fit the woman/man binary or not? We are with you, we hear you and we want to hear more from you.
So, what do we do? We apologize if our attachment of “WOMEN ONLY” was too abrupt and exclusive. Yet, we still think it is really important to have spaces for women. GSWA members really value HWB and while we tried to extend our focus outside of just GSWA, most of the events of the week for “women only” required a VERY safe space and trust between those who showed up. This is not to say that others are not in need of this as well, but it is challenging for us as ciswomen to figure out how to bridge this space with our desire to extend this invitation of a safe space to our non-binary friends as well.
Should we have planned an event discussing masturbation in general? Discussing masturbation with all who have some type of vagina/clitoris/G-spot combination? Should we have made it more clear that anyone, and we mean ANYONE, could have come and talked to us about Diva Cups (the booth was mistakenly advertised for women only – although you were required to have menstruating capabilities in order to win the diva cup…)? Should we have planned some type of non-nude body casting for everyone? It may sound like we’re joking, but we’re seriously asking these questions.
Or should we have simply extended a more formal invitation to our non-binary friends to come and talk to us about the week whether before, during or after the events? To come and ask us about how you might be involved? To come and tell us what sort of event might cater to your needs in nurturing a healthy body? Here it is: maybe you feel vulnerable, intimidated, scared or you are just too dang busy to pick up another thing, but we are here and we would love to hear from you. Whether we significantly alter some of our events or we simply find ways to add new events that are more inclusive of our non-binary friends, we are more than willing to listen to you!
GSWA is a fantastic resource and wonderful support community for women to participate in. Opportunities for women-only spaces has been meaningful, empowering, sacred and necessary for many GC women, because women-only spaces are so rare but we realize that at times this is also exclusive. These sacred spaces should be available to everyone on campus. Give us your wisdom, advice, experience, love and help us to brainstorm new ways of providing inclusive spaces for everyone. Talk to us in person, write us a letter, write another Record article, or find some other way to communicate!