Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Villanova Presentation

Sorry I've been away for a bit.  Life has... um... hit a rough patch.  But I'm still here.  Still breathing.  Still writing.

In any case, I did something I think was worth writing about, so...

Thursday, March 31, 2016 was Transgender Day of Visibility.  (It was the two year anniversary of my first day of work at the bookstore as Sophie.)  In any case, my method of visibility was to give a presentation at Villanova University.

I met my "escort" in front of this church

The class was "Psychology of Gender," taught by Dr. Katina Sawyer.  I was told to expect a full house.  Originally, I was to do the presentation alone, but a couple of weeks before it happened, I was told I'd be sharing the stage with a transman named Aiden James Kosciesza.  I'd heard of him- he is an activist and lecturer on trans rights.

Then we were both informed that Dr. Sawyer had been asked to present at Harvard University, so she wouldn't be there.  We would have the class.  Aiden respectfully bowed out; I'm guessing because that exceeded the scope of work.  I, on the other hand, am trained to run a classroom (thank you education degrees!) so I had no issue with this.

March 31 was a warm, dreary day, and VERY muggy.  My presentation was at 4.  I parked in the lot across from campus and walked around a bit, taking some pictures.  The mood was electric- Villanova's men's basketball team was in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, and the student body was psyched!

At four, I met the beautiful graduate assistant, Rebeca Pareja, who showed me to the building where I'd be speaking.  To access it, we had to go through a HUGE wooden door, which struck me as something out of Dungeons and Dragons.  Inside, the building looked like any other classroom building- and it smelled like it too: that faint aroma of cleanser, books, and burnt brain cells.  Ah, Academia!

Before Class

We were a little early, and the building had no air conditioning.  As I was in a suit, I began to sweat profusely.  I excused myself to the powder room and dabbed off the sweat.  But it kept on coming.  I met my student liaison then as well.  She was Alexa McGrath, a beautiful sorority girl who was Panhellenic president, and she was graciously allowing me to use her laptop.

Eventually, the History professor who had the class in the room before us left, and I set up.  The class would be filmed by a remote camera installed on the back wall.  I had no control over this camera.

At 4 PM, I started the class.  I spoke for about an hour.  The session was similar to the one I did back in November at Penn State Abington, but I cut out some parts that just didn't work.

After answering questions, I ended spot on at 5:15.  Afterwards, I answered some private questions, then Rebeca walked me back to the church.  She had another class, so we would part ways there.  As we walked, we spoke of how getting "the story out" was so important.  She said that my story was inspiring.  I was a bit surprised by that- I looked at her quizzically for a moment.  I replied that "my story is still being told."

I walked back to my car.  On the way, I saw a news van- one of the local stations was doing interviews on campus or something.  I took a picture, and posted it on facialbook.

I then drove back to the apartment.  Linda was there, nursing a sore back (which is why she didn't come along.)

And that was my day.

I think that it went well, but you be the judge.

HERE is the link to the presentation.  It actually starts at 4:45 on the feed.  I did my best to obscure names in it (right, Michelle?)  ;)  Also, I'm still waiting on release forms from a couple of students, so please don't go spreading this around yet.

Oh, and Villanova won the tournament by beating North Carolina in the finals.

Be well!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Sophie! Congrats on a great presentation. I just finished watching it, and the students definitely seemed interested and engaged. And kudos for making it personal and not pulling any punches, I think that made it more poignant and made it very real (and sometimes intensely so!), which for that kind of audience I suspect will be far more memorable than a dry litany of facts. I'm sure they walked away with a lot to think about!