College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Social Work Club hosted its second series of panel discussions seeking to provide community education around LGBTQ+ identities and experiences on Thursday, Nov. 10. The LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion Series, which began Spring 2022, offers general insight into a broad spectrum of LGBTQ+ identities. Fall 2022 semester's discussion focused on transgender and nonbinary identities.
The panel consisted of four individuals who identify as trans and/or nonbinary and a moderator who identifies as nonbinary. Panelists answered prepared, moderated questions surrounding their identities, their journeys of self-discovery and acceptance, coming out, and experiences in the larger community.
Audience members were then given the opportunity to ask questions so panelists could elaborate on their stories and experiences. Panelists shared the hardships they had encountered as well as the profound joy of recognizing and living as their authentic selves.
Those in attendance said they walked away with a deeper understanding of trans and nonbinary identities and an appreciation for varied experiences.
“This is an example of how students can use their voices to create inclusivity and inspire change on campus, in their community, and beyond," said a CWI student who attended the panel discussion. “Each panel guest bravely spoke about their gender identity and explained what being transgender or non-binary means for them. As one panelist stated, ‘To be my true authentic self, I had to give myself permission to see myself in a new way.’ Another person expressed grief from the loss of who they had been born as but joy in becoming who they are meant to be.”
The CWI Social Work Club hopes events, such as the LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion Series, will help to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus for all as marginalized voices are amplified and community members come together to listen and learn.
The LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion Series is planned to be offered each semester and will continue to highlight various identities and experiences.