Written By: Megan Freeman
Note to the readers: herm/herms are Andre Boiseau’s chosen pronouns. So when you read herm/herms, this is referring to the speaker.
“No one has the right to change me”, says Andre Boiseau, an intersex speaker at Fitchburg State said in herm speech at the Gay-Straight Alliance’s Gender Blender this Tuesday afternoon.
Annually, the Gay-Straight alliance hosts Stop the Hate Week, which is a week dedicated to raising awareness to LBGTQ+ issues that face not only the community as a whole, but specifically students at Fitchburg State as well. Boiseau is a student at Fitchburg State, as well as an activist for political changes in regards to how intersex people are treated in the world; not only by the general public but also by the LGBTQ+ community itself. Over the course of the week there are five events that will be happening: a photoshoot, a gender blender event, movie screening, remembrance vigil, and the day of silence. Though the first two events have already happened, there are three more events coming up that can still be participated in.
On Wednesday at 3:30, in the Hammond Hub, the next event for Stop the Hate week is a movie screening. The movie being shown is Gaming in Color, and the end of the screening there will be a talk with the director of the movie over skype.
Thursday the 14th is the trans* vigil in collaboration with Christian fellowship, which is held in memory of trans* people lost to suicide, such as Leelah Alcorn back in 2014.
Friday is the Day of Silence, a day in which participating students can choose to be silent for the entire day until the break the silence event, held in Hammond GO1, with snacks and food provided.
For the start of the week, on April 11th a ‘NO H8’ photoshoot was held on campus. Students passing by were offered the opportunity to duct-tape their mouths shut and paint the phrase ‘NO H8’ onto their body in acknowledgement of the campaign. This is one of the most iconic movements and popular celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Cher, Josh Hutcherson, Larry King, and many others have participated in this project.
“Photos feature subject with duct tape over herm mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with NOH8 painted on one cheek in protest” is written on the NO H8 campaign’s website (http://www.noh8campaign.com/article/about). Though the campaign was originally started to argue against Prop 8 (which was a proposition that suggested marriage was only between a man and a woman) it now represents a wider approach to anti-discrimination than just fighting against marriage inequality.
On Tuesday afternoon, the GSA hosted their event Gender Blender, which invited guest speaker Andre Boiseau to speak about gender issues. Herm are an intersex individual and identify as both male and female, and spoke during the event about transsexualism versus intersex individuals. Intersexuality is when someone is born with both male and female parts.
“We are intertwined between the two”, herm said, highlighting the difference between intersexuality and transsexualism. Intersexuality is a medical situation, whereas being transgender is a situation of self-identification. Identifying as either male or female was not what herm wanted to do – herm are both. Boiseau disagreed with herm’s doctor when they said that herm had to choose a gender, saying “no, that’s not me”.
The talk went on for about an hour, and ended with a session of questions. The GSA also gave a shorter talk about gender identity itself as a whole.