On Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m., The Vallican Whole Community Centre will present what may be its most colourful presentation ever. Part of the Whole Perspective series, “All Over the Rainbow: Understanding Gender Diversity” promises to be a mind-expanding event. Kori Doty, the Slocan Valley’s well-known non-binary educator and activist, will involve participants in a conversation about the current and important topic.
Doty, a non-binary trans parent, was able to receive a “U”, (presumably for “unspecified”) classification on Doty’s child’s BC Health Card last year. “This way, Sea can tell us what gender they are when they are old enough to know,” says Doty, who is involved in group human rights challenge to have gender removed from birth certificates.
Doty, whose personable style makes presentations both fascinating and non-threatening, has been teaching courses on transgender awareness and related topics for several years. “I took a course from Kori,” says organizer Moe Lyons. “They’re just great at doing this, because they never make you feel stupid or in the wrong when you have difficult or what you might be afraid are dumb questions.”
But wait, say many people, aren’t there just two genders? Well, no, that’s not how it works, according to “Gender Spectrum”, a website dedicated to this discussion. They have a pretty succinct description of how to view this topic.
“While our gender may begin with the assignment of our sex, it doesn’t end there. A person’s gender is the complex interrelationship between three dimensions:
Body: our body, our experience of our own body, how society genders bodies, and how others interact with us based on our body.
Identity: our deeply held, internal sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither; who we internally know ourselves to be.
Expression: how we present our gender in the world and how society, culture, community, and family perceive, interact with, and try to shape our gender. Gender expression is also related to gender roles and how society uses those roles to try to enforce conformity to current gender norms.”
Doty hopes this discussion will open us up to a whole new world of possibilities: “I want to invite folks to be part of a deconstruction of the world as we know it, so we can collectively envision and explore a more liberatory future.”
Doty sees growing awareness of gender complexity as one important factor in a great big picture: “It seems apparent to me that a huge part of what is needed in this conversation is a breakdown of ‘what is the gender binary?’, where does it come from, how do we learn it, reinforce it, what is its value and to whom?”
Whether you identify as somewhere other than mainstream on the gender spectrum, are already a full-on ally of transgendered persons, are dubious about the whole thing, or just have some pressing questions, this evening will give you the opportunity for non-judgmental and vigorous discussion. It’s guaranteed you will leave with lots to think about. Admission is by donation. The Vallican Whole is at 3762 Little Slocan S. Rd. www.VallicanWhole.com; Facebook/TheWhole