An Open Dialogue; Gender and Identity

Alex Myers returned to New Hampton School last night, after first visiting in late August. Following a workshop with faculty and staff at the start of the school year; he was invited back to lead the whole community in a conversation about gender and identity.
 
Following dinner, students and faculty gathered in the theater, and Alex opened the dialogue by sharing his personal story of transition: being born a girl and transitioning to a male identity while a student at Exeter Academy. He shared the highlights and lowlights of this story, emphasizing that his own personal experience is not universal and that every transgender person has their own unique story to tell.
 
Alex's introduction was welcomed by an incredibly attentive audience. Students asked a continuous flow of great questions. They were curious, respectful, and eager to gather information and insight. Alex's introduction, and the student question and answer session in the theater, set the stage well for the small group discussions to follow.
 
Discussion groups were led by faculty and involved 2-3 advisory groups so that students were mixed for the conversation. Dialogues started with the question, "What would it be like to be transgender at New Hampton School?" Conversation then moved on to a discussion about gender in general, and students closed by each writing down on an index card one action they can take to shake-up gender divisions and expectations on campus.
 
This year's School Life Curriculum, particularly this past month following our MLK celebration activities, has raised awareness among students and community members about topics of access and inclusivity. Listening to Alex's story, and engaging in meaningful conversation with peers and faculty was an educational opportunity to learn about gender identity, but also helped shape student perspective and build empathy.
 
Alex arrived early on Thursday evening to have dinner with the school's Gay Straight Transgender Alliance (GSTA). GSTA students work closely with School Counselor Erika Lea and the School Life Office to provide avenues to support students and also raise awareness within the community for GSTA issues. This group was particularly grateful for Alex's support as they promote awareness among their peers, and for the dialogue he opened to bring Husky Nation closer together on topics of gender, identity, access and inclusivity.
 
You can learn more about Alex on his website, and view photos from the evening on Flickr.
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