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Posted by Dec 06on
Two years ago in the No More War team a discussion arose about the connection between Gender violence and war. It was developed into a seminar, called “Picture Perfect? Dangerous stereotypes about Gender and Sexuality”, which took place in Berlin, Germany, November 2015 (funded by Erasmus+). Valerie Weidinger, one of the facilitators of the seminar and member of the Gender Blenders tells us more about the seminar and how the group has grown since then. Read more...
- Genders and Sexualities
- Stereotypes about these
- Gender violence and LGBTQ related violence (in their countries)
- Visited Berlin-based organisations working with/ on the topics
- Learned and exchanged nonformal education methods appropriate to the topic
- And connected all of this to the overall SCI aims: a culture of peace and non-violence.
The group finally ended the seminar with the design of projects, that they wished to implement within a year after the seminar. As always in volunteering not all of it came true, but the group stayed connected, continued inspiring and supporting each other and actually implemented: workshops within their branches (on workcamps, with the staff or the volunteers of their branches, in the preparation training of volunteers going to workcamps, in Europe and in Asia), hosted two specific international events (Catalunya; theatre youth exchange, Hungary), ran regular Gender theatre workshops, designed educational material (games, selfevaluation of organisations, etc.), created a photo exhibition portraying members of the Queer scene in New York and Budapest together with our participants in the seminar, and more.
After a year (this November) we met again in Berlin to discuss the outcomes of all these activities and how to continue. The topics were linked to current political trends and to migration, giving new input and creating a still deeper exchange on the situation in different European locations. But mostly in this second event (Trade Fair) the participants were give n the chance to exchange their experiences, learn from each other, inspire each other.
Nine members of the original seminar group came back (plus the facilitators) and five new ones were welcomed in the group. They together confirmed the wish of the seminar in the year before to create a working group, using the name that was chosen in 2015: Gender Blenders. This group is currently developing the follow-up projects decided on and a structure for a (at the moment) inofficial working group within SCI.
When the seminar idea was born I was part of the No More War team, and (not just in that team) I had many times pointed out that SCI should be working on Gender and Sexuality, as stereotypes and prejudices related to these create clear challenges for peace and non-violence in our society (societies). They structure our lives from day one as we are raised to perform as a certain Gender, with a certain Sexuality. Any differences to this norm in our behavior, our feelings, who we are attracted to, etc. lead to (young) people feeling the need to adapt, to limit themselves, so to avoid discrimination, shaming, up until physical violence (partly ending in death). It is my personal believe that there will not be a culture of peace and nonviolence as long as people feel the need to hide parts of their identity, because they are afraid of the reaction of others.
For this reason I think that a working group tackling Genders and Sexualities in SCI, going deeper in the topic and triggering discussion and reflection will be crucial in struggling for our vision of a non-violent world. It was a pleasure to work with the participants of both events and to see them grow (and also grow myself). They are an amazing group of young volunteers with a lot of energy, ideas and skills, and I am looking forward to working with them in the future!
I would like to give a special thanks to Tanja, from SCI Germany. As a co-facilitator she inspired me, taught me a lot and made me reflect on many things! Also I want to thank the No More War team and SCI Germany for giving us the space to develop!"
Article written by Valerie Weidinger
To contact the Gender Blenders with ideas, suggestions, support and/or constructive feedback on their ideas, please use the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about their recent activity: "I Don't Buy Sexism'