LGBTQIA+... What? (Re)Defining Feminism, Gender and Sexuality

Gender was not even a topic to discuss a few days before the Short Course started, but after living through this whole day themed about Sexuality and Gender Equality, I realized that the gender is not restricted to Cisgender and Transgender. In fact, as the day was passing, the first workshop widened my view and gave me new definitions to things I didn’t even know existed. I got to know how to be an ally to those who need support, to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sex and Gender? They are completely different, but I didn’t realize this before hearing it from the facilitators. I came here thinking that that I know everything about Women and Feminism, but the trivia quiz just prove that I have a long path to take in order to understand what women suffer from. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t aware that 1 out of 3 women in the world are object to sexual harassment.

As a closing to the Feminism and Women rights session, we had to go through the most popular fairy tales, in which we discovered a huge wave of sexism against female characters. So as a way to make them better, we just replaced sexism with feminism, giving women the power to defend themselves and to have their own opinion in a world where masculinity seems to be dominating.

A point that had to be made, however was the real meaning of feminism that aims to provide women rights and defend women while ensuring equality between Males and Females, thus eliminating all kinds of gender discrimination. This point was clarified through a workshop that aimed to focus on the stereotypes of feminism and the real issues that feminism deals with.

" All of these workshops were a great start for a day that definitely had a lot of impact on me and changed the way I look to both Women and people that belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. "

Charbel Abdallah, Participant from Lebanon

Discovering the world of LGBTQIA+ can be a tricky and uncomfortable thing especially if it is not discussed in your home country or is even considered a taboo topic. Therefore, for a lot of people it was a new experience to openly talk about the big and exciting world of sexuality and gender. I was very surprised that only very few people knew the terms that go with it such as pansexual, genderqueer or ally. In my country which is Germany I am used to discuss gender and sexuality related topics.

Even in school we learn about the LGBTQ+ community as it is fundamental part of our society. However, on this day I have experienced new ways of not only how to discuss issues but also experience and feeling emotions queer people go through when being excluded. In order that everyone knows the basics we started to clear the general definitions of “queer terms”. I noticed that a lot of people asked many questions about this unexplored area.

After that, we watched a moving video about the reactions of people to a same sex couple holding hands. I was shocked. How can something that simple act of showing love can affect so many people in different ways and especially can lead to anger and rage. Consequently, the atmosphere in the group was rather glumly. This even increased in the next exercise that simulated the feeling of losses. Additionally, we discovered how queerness might influence one’s life in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Creating empathy for people that suffer due to their expression of identity made us understand that discrimination and exclusion have a big impact on one’s life. Not being allowed to love either themselves or another human beings takes away all the good things in life. Realising this made us tear up.

In the evening, we put everything we have learned into performances in which we could express our feelings and thoughts about gender and sexuality. Frankly, I was so impressed by my peer’s creative minds. I have seen so many different performances including poetry, slam poetry, drama, plays and also people just sharing situations.

All in all, this day was amazing. Not only we discussed gender and sexuality issues but also went to the culture festival in Imst. There, we tried lots of food from different countries, got in touch with locals and danced to African music.

L - oving

G- ainful

B - onding

T - oching

Q - uestioning

I - nspiring

A - mazing


Tonya Frankenberger, Participant from Germany


20 July 2018 | by Marija Nikola Jansone and Katarina Keerd

We took a bus from Imst to Native Spirit. After arrival we went swimming in the river that was around 8°C, some did it twice. In the evening we had a campfire and...