Michael Salem – 1851 Staff
Lasell welcomed Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld to speak on “Heterosexism and Cisgenderism” on Sept. 20. 45 students and faculty primarily made up the crowd that ushered into deWitt Hall.
An author of seven books, Dr. Blumenfeld is an expert in queer studies and history, bringing awareness of LGBTQ issues to various communities.
“Heterosexism and Cisgenderism” brought light to the issues of heterosexual and cisgender privilege. The privilege that comes from identifying as the majority of people – straight and gender conforming.
Jesse Tauriac, Associate Professor of Psychology & Director of the Donahue Institute for Ethics, Inclusion, and Diversity said, “I think that heterosexism and cisgenderism is just as important as any area of dominance and marginalization. Sadly, I think there are ways in which it’s overlooked – often times because people may not vocally
hear the concerns that are raised. People say ‘Hey, we’re fine look at the Pride flag’. I’ve worked with students, and asked ‘If you know someone on campus, when they view something negative, they refer to it as gay’. Invariably, in those groups almost every student raised their hand.”
Dr. Blumenfeld’s tone throughout the lecture was fun and informative. Dr. Blumenfeld dedicated his speech that day to all the transgender people who have been murdered in America this year. He confessed his love for puns and displayed his prowess for them all while explaining the complex systems of privilege in America, quoting such speeches as “The Queer Nation Manifesto”.
Aside from the issues involving gender and sexuality, Dr. Blumenfeld spoke on issues of meritocracy in the nation, and the importance of maintaining queer history as a diasporic community; boasting his 1,000 slide PowerPoint on LGBTQ history down to cave paintings.
While demonstrating passion for history, Dr. Blumenfeld also looks towards the future as new LGBTQ leaders emerge from today’s youth.
After Dr. Blumenfeld’s discussion, he said, “You’re not going to defeat heterosex- ism and cisgenderism in 13.3 days, so you chip away at it in pieces. I’m so impressed by the youth movement today. Kids are coming out at earlier and earlier ages, parents and guardians are supporting them in greater numbers. I’ve been working for gun control all of my life and these dynamic students are taking it to a new level, but don’t forget where you come from. We need to know our history.”