Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

College student balances LGBTQ+ activism, student life
by MacKenzie Murtaugh
2019-08-07

This article shared 2722 times since Wed Aug 7, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


After her semester at a new college, Zaiden Sowle knew she found what was lacking at her previous college.

Before, her experience at Connecticut College—a small, liberal arts school in New London, Connecticut—was not the personal and intellectual time she expected to love. Instead, she felt ostracized by the lack of LGBTQ+ resources and culture on campus.

At her new school, Simmons University—a women-focused private school in Boston—Sowle found a better fit: a more trans-inclusive environment. As a trans woman, Sowle searched for a school that would be more accepting of her identity and people like her. Simmons prides itself as being one of the first colleges to include transgender students in their women's school.

Before Sowle began college, she worked to amplify those voices that tend to go unheard in schools and create safe spaces for them. As a former member of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance's ( ISSA's ) youth committee, she planned and organized events for LGBTQ+ youths which included annual sleepaway camps and summits. ISSA works directly with schools on policy and advocacy. The youth committee consists of many LGBTQ+ youths who give other LGBTQ+ youths space to feel safe, accepted and meet other people like them.

Sowle first got involved with ISSA after the president of her high school's gay-straight alliance asked the club if anyone had interest in joining, and Sowle jumped at the opportunity. Helping kids in similar situations to her was something she looked forward to.

Her experience at ISSA was not only volunteer work—the time she spent with them helped her realize and then understand her trans identity.

"Youth committee meetings, just every other week, really helped me to realize for myself that I am trans," Sowle said. "When I realized it, then I came out to the people at the meetings. Just seeing how happy they were for me for figuring it out and how accepting they just gave me the courage to eventually come out to my family and friends at school."

When she was on her way home for an event with ISSA, she made that decision to come out to her parents after some time talking it over with other youth committee members.

"After my first summit that I helped to plan and even attend, that night I decided to come home and come out to my parents," Sowle said. "Just because I was coming out of such a high of the day and being around similar people and really feeling empowered through the workshops and all of that."

Once Sowle graduated from high school, her life-changing time on ISSA's youth committee came to an end.

"They gave us [the seniors who were leaving] a round of applause, and I just lost it," Sowle said. "Crying my eyes out. It really was like I have a family with these people, and to think that that was coming to an end was really difficult."

Sowle's time she spent with ISSA is a time that she looks back on with great appreciation and admiration at not only her personal growth but with the friendships she made. But she knows it's all just a part of growing up and moving onto bigger things.

"But it is a part of growing up when you have to go off to college and try to do your studies and all of that," Sowle said.

Growing up in Evanston and attending Evanston Township High School prepared Sowle with a good education and the liberal ideology that led her to study women and gender studies and sociology at Connecticut College. But her experience there was a mixed bag.

The adviser for the woman and gender-studies department took Sowle under her wing after a difficult first semester. Once the women and gender studies department suggested the department's name to be changed to "gender, sexuality, and intersectionality studies," Sowle felt this was not a department that reflected that name change. His adviser was the only Black woman working in the department, and one of the few working at the school. This controversy was one of many that prompted Sowle's transfer to Simmons.

"It's just amazing," Sowle said of Simmons. "It's very LGBT-friendly, and it's very trans-friendly. It has a very large population [of LGBTQ+ students] relative to other schools."

Sowle enters her second semester at Simmons in the fall. She plans to continue her studies and graduate within the next few years, studying women and gender studies as well as sociology.

"I want to be a social worker, working with LGBT youth, hopefully as part of a nonprofit or something," Sowle said.


This article shared 2722 times since Wed Aug 7, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Students speak out after Pride flag removal at Indiana school
2021-04-14
Students spoke out April 12 against the removal of Pride flags at a middle school in northwest Indiana, according to CBS Chicago. According to ABC7Chicago.com, a Black Lives Matter poster was also removed. LGBTQ students addressed ...


Gay News

More than 45,000 trans youth put at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care
2021-04-13
--From a Williams Institute press release - An estimated 45,100 transgender youth ages 13 and older in the U.S. are at risk of being denied gender-affirming medical care due to proposed and enacted state bans, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School ...


Gay News

Trans, non-binary youth influencers launch book collection with "A Kids Book About"
2021-04-12
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - April 12, 2021 - While many teens took e-learning as an opportunity to level-up their gaming skills, a group of young people chose instead to write a collection of books about their lives. ...


Gay News

WORLD Trans women arrested, death threats, Russian film, leader apologizes
2021-04-11
Two transgender women facing charges of "attempted homosexuality" (as well as public indecency and not carrying identification) in a high-profile case in Cameroon will spend more than two months behind bars without a trial after a ...


Gay News

Study: 30% of young LGBQ people have attempted suicide in their lifetimes
2021-04-09
--From a press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults experience greater psychological distress and suicidal behavior than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in ...


Gay News

Arkansas legislature overrides governor on anti-trans measure
2021-04-06
On April 6, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state, ABC News reported. The "Save Adolescents ...


Gay News

LGBTQ students sue U.S. Department of Education
2021-03-31
More than 30 LGBTQ students are suing the U.S. Department of Education in a class-action lawsuit filed March 29, NBC News reported. The students allege that they dealt with discrimination at 25 federally funded Christian colleges ...


Gay News

New Equality Map: Bans on transgender youth participation in sports
2021-03-29
(March 29, 2021) — Across the country, state legislatures have introduced bills that would ban transgender youth from participating in K-12 school sports, and in some cases in college as well. This year alone, at least ...


Gay News

POETRY E'mon Lauren Black talks queerness, podcast, Black mobility
2021-03-11
Even though she's only in her early 20s, E'mon Lauren Black has accomplished so much. Not only was Black named Chicago's first youth poet laureate in 2016 (an honor from Young Chicago Authors, in partnership with ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project connects youth, elders in conversation
2021-03-10
A chance encounter in 2019 has blossomed into an intergenerational dialogue project that brings together younger and older LGBTQ folks. Adam Greteman, a gay philosopher and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty member, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Nebraska measure, Williams Institute, Audre Lorde, journalist dies
2021-02-28
In Nebraska, the Lincoln City Council passed an ordinance that bans licensed mental-health professionals from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the discredited practice of conversion therapy, according to a Trevor Project ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


Gay News

WORLD Canadian groups, Moroccan refugee, LGBT+ Rights Ghana, trans heroine
2021-02-21
From $400,000 in funding for a national initiative aimed at expanding two-spirit advocacy, to $239,000 to improve LGBTQ youth housing access in the Prairies, 76 Canadian community groups are being sent nearly $15 million from the ...


Gay News

Court Theatre announces 2021 Southside Youth Fest, platform for teens
2021-02-18
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, announces Court's 2021 Southside Youth Fest, inviting South Side teens to submit original digi ...


Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor'
2021-02-17
In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.