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2016 Fall Conference Workshop Descriptions

Session 1 9:45-11:00

LGBTQ+ 101

This interactive workshop will cover common LGBTQ+ vocabulary, the differences between gender, sex, gender expression, and sexual orientation, the DESE guidance, and best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ students. This workshop is a good introduction to LGBTQ+ terms and concepts or can serve as a refresher workshop for those who want to review!


Inclusivity in the Sex Education Classroom

"Inclusive” is a word that is getting used a lot nowadays – by educators, administrators, the media, politicians – it’s become quite the buzzword. But what does it really mean to be inclusive? And how do you create an inclusive classroom? Join us for this interactive 90 minute session as we introduce our evidence based Get Real Approach to comprehensive sex education, work together to break down what it means to provide inclusive sex education, and provide strategies and best practices for you to bring back to your own classrooms and schools.


Q’s about the T: Understanding Trans Lives and Experiences

If you have ever wanted to ask a question about life as a trans* person, but you were unsure of how to do it, then this is a workshop for you. What is it like to be trans*? Why are these "bathroom bills" causing so much controversy? What can I do to be a better ally to the trans* community? Qs About the T is designed to demystify trans* lives and experiences. This workshop will provide you with a wealth of information and resources, and it includes ample time for discussion. Do you have lots of questions? Let's talk!


Asexuality (Open to those who identify along the ACE Spectrum Only)

Join us for a discussion of asexuality and its impact in today's world! Make friends with new people you can relate to! Learn from their experiences! Teach others with your experiences! Have fun! Welcome to those who identify within the ace spectrum only, please.


Advocacy 101: Finding and Owning Your Political Identity

Have you ever wanted to get more involved in politics, but don’t know where to start or what to do? Participants will assess their own political views and learn how they align with different parties. Participants will learn a variety of ways they can get involved in creating change through political action.


Bisexuality Validity

In our workshop, we will discuss bisexuality in the media and how it is usually perceived. We will share and educate with knowledge regarding what bisexuality consists of, and will also hold activities to help teach in a inclusive way. We will also have an activity involving the media with bisexual celebrities. At the end, we will ask participants what they learned from the presentation, and also answer any further questions. It will be fun, inclusive, and most of all, educational!


Words in Motion Evoke Change When Spoken

Explore the ways in which the written and spoken word can be used as a form of activism, and how speaking your truth can serve as a protest, an education, and a step toward change in the world at large.


Out in the Library: Queer Youth Literature & its Censors

This workshop will review the history of LGBTQIA+ literature for children and young adults, focusing on the explosion of queer literature for youth in recent years. Participants will learn about the positive effects of providing affirming information to youth and award-winning titles. Part of the session will be dedicated to understanding the rights of minors to freely access information in school libraries, attempts to censor this information, and action steps we can take to combat censorship in all of its forms and build diverse LGBTQIA+ collections in libraries. Participants are encouraged to share their favorite LGBTQIA+ books for youth audiences.


Fingerprint Art

Fingerprints are unique personal identifiers--and can come loaded with negative connotations of injustice and inequality. We would never choose them to identify ourselves. Come turn that around! Use your fingerprints to make beautiful art representing yourself and what you are passionate about! As we create, there will be an opportunity to discuss who we are and how we can make our voices heard.


Meditation & Potential

In this workshop we will practice mindfulness meditation, and discuss potential applications in the classroom. This will include discussion of possible benefits and risks, and ways in which the practice could be adapted.


One In Ten Teacher In Ten?: LGBTQ+ Educator Discussion

This workshop will offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ educators (no others, please) to discuss what it's like working in schools as an LGBTQ+ person in 2016.


Session 2 11:15-12:30

Layers of Identity

Each of us has many ways in which we can identify ourselves. Some identities are visible, while ‎others are hidden; some may be empowering while others can be debilitating. When our ‎identities are marginalized in society, do we speak out or remain silent? Do our identities ‎provide us with connectivity or separateness, challenges or strengths? In this workshop, we ‎will explore layers of identity, creating a unique image of self, while focusing on issues of ‎gender, orientation, functional diversity, race and more. We will then connect with others to ‎create a deeper understanding of how multiple identities shape our experiences.


What am I? A cross Disciplinary lesson on Intersex

What is Intersex and how do I teach it? Experience an interdisciplinary lesson from a LGBTIQ Literature and History class and increase student sensitivity and understanding to different stories and terms. As teachers of Biology and English/History, we will introduce the term “Intersex” and how we present and study this topic. Through literature and scientific texts, a jigsaw activity, and a guided discussion, participants will gain insight, reflect on current practices, receive resources, and learn about the science and history of what it means to be intersex and how to teach about this topic.


Fearless Fundraising

Consider fundraising one of your favorite things to do? Do you love asking people for money? If you answered NO to a both of these questions, then this workshop is for you!  It's time to shift your thinking about fundraising face to face. Learn valuable skills to fund and fuel your projects and/or organization as you set up for success as an artist or activist in 2016. Join local philanthropic advisor, fundraiser and activist Alyssa Wright of Raising Change, as she takes you from frustration, exhaustion and anxiety to fearlessness, joy and best of all, fully resourced work.


Advocacy 101: Politicians as Allies

Do you consider “constituent” as part of your identity? Learn to how, why, and when to contact your elected officials. Meet elected officials and other representatives. “For the people” includes you.


Autism and the Queer Identity

Studies have shown that autistic people are more likely to identify as queer or transgender. So why are queer/trans autistic people so often underrepresented? In this workshop we will discuss the struggles that LGBT+ autistic people face, because of the misconception and stereotyping often associated with autism and sexuality.


Unpacking Identity: Strategies that Build Community

How do I build community while acknowledging our differences? How do I create a safe space for dialogue? Where do I even begin? All these questions bubble up for educators as they think about approaching the topic of identity in the classroom. This hands-on workshop will engage participants in active drama-based strategies that can be used with young adults to begin a dialogue around identity. Participants will experience the strategies and have an opportunity to consider how they can use these strategies in their own context.


Emotions, Community, & Art

The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community is a community of people with lived experience with a variety of things including the mental health system, oppression, and trauma. Among many things, the RLC offers an opportunity to explore different meanings and intersections with people's life experiences. Come to this workshop and learn about the RLC and how it utilizes art. Also have the opportunity to discuss and create art individually and as a group. We hope to see you there!


Transformative Movement

Our bodies carry us everyday. Our bodies also hold memories, emotion and trauma. In these sessions we will release energy and foster it, explore stillness and quiet as well as volume and motion, stretch and strengthen. For many of us, bodies are a complicated element of life. Through awareness exercises, physical exertion and deep appreciation, participants will be invited to harness the power of movement and embodiment for their own healing and growth. Dance movement and embodiment are incredibly powerful tools that each of us possess and can use to foster and grow social movements.


LGBTQ Comics & Graphic Novels

We will explore a variety of comic books and graphic novels which have LGBTQIA characters, themes, or creators. We'll talk about how the industry has made strides in recent years to become more inclusive, but how there is still a lot of work to be done. All comics will be appropriate for a youth audience. We'll look at superhero comics, as well as, independent and small press graphic novels! Something for everyone


Healthy Relationships and School Culture

Description coming soon. Content Note: Will include conversations on rape culture.


Opening the Closet: Gender, Sexuality, & Fashion

Ever heard the saying, "The clothes make the man"? 

Since the dawn of fashion, clothing has been used to frame and identify gender and sometimes, sexuality, to society- whether we want it to or not! Learn a little bit about the history of fashion linked to gender and sexuality, explore what you've learned about the societal assumptions made about clothing as an indicator of identity and morals, and plan how to take action on bullying and oppression linked to fashion, such as school dress codes, slut-shaming, classism, heterosexism and oppression of all genders.


Session 3 1:30-2:45

Building Inclusive Schools- A panel

Are you interested in helping to make your school more gender inclusive? This panel will introduce you to students from PVPA (Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School) who are making a difference. They will describe specific strategies that students and educators can use to build more gender inclusive schools. Participants will leave with tools they can bring back to their schools as well as a network of support for this work.


Being an Intersectional Ally

What makes someone an ally? Discuss what allyship means to you, learn about intersectionality, and discover ways we can support each other within the queer community. It’s crucial that we stand against homophobia, racism and all forms of oppression - but first, we need to know how. Through scenarios, practice strategies for being an intersectional ally.


Co-Creating a Mindful Classroom

We will explore and share techniques for creating inclusive mindful classrooms that aid in stress reduction and increasing student focus. Movement, breathing, and inquiry are at the heart of this work. This workshop will blend discussion, relaxation, movement, and small group work.


Using Film LGBTQ Youth Activists to Inspire Creative Change

Looking for an innovative way to mobilize your GSA or school around queer issues? Watch “The Year We Thought About Love,” an award-winning film about Boston’s True Colors: OUT Youth Theater, and design an action plan in meeting your goals for LGBTQ support and celebration. Make the slogan “ART promotes ACTIVISM” work for you!


Representation, Microaggressions & Stereotypes in Media

In this workshop, participants will learn about and discuss how lack of representation of marginalized people in media leads to harmful tropes and stereotypes. Participants will be organized into groups and will analyze photographs, articles and paintings of how people of different identities are portrayed in these kinds of media. participants will later discuss why people were portrayed that way, and what contributes to how marginalized people are seen in media.


Gender Expansive? Let’s Talk (Open only to Gender Expansive Identifying Folks)

A Gender expansive identifying- only space ( Transgender, Non-Binary, Non-Conforming, Gender Fluid, etc.,) in which participants will focus on gender expansive topics. We will discuss school environment, self-care, and how we can create safe spaces for ourselves and others. This is a completely safe and affirming space for Gender expansive individuals.


Let’s Talk about Sex(ual) Health

Skillful and knowledgeable adults can provide positive opportunities for youth. Our ability to ‎talk with youth openly and honestly about sexual health matters is of utmost importance, ‎especially since LGTBQIA+ individuals do not have equal access to information specifically ‎geared towards them. To do so, educators and staff should reassess attitudes and values ‎towards sexual health matters in order to pass on appropriate information. In this workshop, ‎participants will explore issues that may be hard to discuss, will reassess attitudes that may ‎need change, and will gain insight and resources that will empower their ability to discuss ‎these hard topics.‎


Love Letters Between Objects

Skillful and knowledgeable adults can provide positive opportunities for youth. Our ability to ‎talk with youth openly and honestly about sexual health matters is of utmost importance, ‎especially since LGTBQIA+ individuals do not have equal access to information specifically ‎geared towards them. To do so, educators and staff should reassess attitudes and values ‎towards sexual health matters in order to pass on appropriate information. In this workshop, ‎participants will explore issues that may be hard to discuss, will reassess attitudes that may ‎need change, and will gain insight and resources that will empower their ability to discuss ‎these hard topics.‎


Art, Activism, & Poetry

What is identity? How do our individual identities overlap? What systems have influenced your current understand of your identity? In this workshop we will explore these questions, discuss how artists we know and love talk about identity, and use spoken-word as a way to advocate for a specific outcome or cause related to our identities.