By Adonia Burciaga
The Women/Gender Studies Committee held a student-led panel to discuss the importance of people understanding the real meaning of gender studies, stigmas in feminism, gender fluidity and queerness.
The students who spoke on the panel are East Los Angeles College Alumni, who are attending the University of California, Los Angeles and Hunter College in New York City.
Students were encouraged to provide the definition of what gender means to them.
Carlos Avilez, current UCLA student said, “The thing that I like about gender is that it’s interdisciplinary.”
Avilez said he chose to major in gender studies because of how accepting the department at UCLA is. He said he has the opportunity to learn more about what he identifies as.
The panelist also shared how their non-traditional journey led them to transfer in their respective colleges.
The panelists said whether gender studies should be taught to younger children. The statement really woke up the attendees.
The idea that queerness should be normalized was put fourth as a way to help people understand gender.
One attendee of the gender studies panel shared with the panelists that it would be nice if queerness is normalized.
The panel pointed out that most parents wait until the right time for their children to be taught sexual education. They said parents should wait for the right time to teach their kids so that it is easier to understand gender studies.
Society has yet to learn more about what gender and queerness mean. Terms like “gay” and “queer” on gaming platforms like PlayStation and Xbox are banned because they are deemed to be offensive.
This shows that society and companies have a misunderstanding of these terms.
Nadia Martinez former ELAC student and transfer student at Hunter College in New York City is majoring in gender studies. She said, “Queerness is a malleable term where you can fit where you’d want to, but is a sense of identity, a marginalized community. The term could be used to be uplifting and degrading.”
Gender Studies departments on campuses like UCLA are fairly new.
The idea is they can tackle sexist ideologies and demonstrate how gender studies can be inclusive.
Gender fluidity was also discussed in the panel. Gender fluidity is when someone considers themselves to be feminine one day and masculine the next day.
Professor Kelly Velasquez mentions gender-fluid artists like, Madonna and Angelina Jolie to better showcase what gender fluidity means.
Madonna is known for ignoring gender norms and embracing publicly that gender can be fluid.
Madonna’s gender fluidity had influenced Avilez to embrace his sexuality more and be ok with not fitting the stereotype of a man or woman.
Artists like Madonna influenced others to believe that it’s okay not to identify as the “natural” gender.
The panelists said ELAC students should take advantage of the transfer resources available to them when going to four-year schools.
The panel recommended that if students were interested in Gender Studies that they should apply to UCLA.
The panelists said there is still so much to learn about gender studies. Students can contribute to the knowledge that is being shared by participating in research once they transfer out of community college.
Resources like the Transfer Center, UCLA’s Center for Community College partnership and the honors program are available to students who are interested in transferring.