Not-so-Forbidden Gender Workshops

So, recently I led workshops at my (Polish) school called “Zakazana Płeć” aka Forbidden Gender. As one can easily guess, the main topic of these workshops was gender. Nonetheless, many other topics came about during the time: sexuality, stereotypes, privilege, menstruation… just to name a few.

The simple idea of such workshops brought to me a very interesting experience. Prior to the actual workshops, word spread around the school of my “taboo” workshops. While some fellow students were genuinely curious and wanted to know more about these workshops, others laughed (and verbally harassed me). My professors worried about my mental well-being, due to those few incidents of pure negativity. Regardless of the outcry echoing around me, I kept at it and didn’t back away.

On the day of the workshops, I had many scenarios rushing past my mind. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I prepared myself, being as calm and collected as possible. Only a small number of people signed up, but I didn’t know what to expect from them.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of my workshops. I had two or three attendees who were very skeptical, but I am grateful for their respect and our ability to hold a civilized discussion. I had attendees open up about topics that one usually never discusses among friends. Everyone had their say, everyone could voice their opinion without being discriminated or attacked. Some thanked me for educating them about gender and teaching them about something they knew very little about. Some left with the same opinion they came with, others saw their opinions change.

A part of my goal as an activist is to educate others, to open their eyes to a world they don’t know of or understand. These workshops were just a small step, but one that opened my own eyes as well.

-JuJu, #mindofjuju

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