Ever heard of on-campus events like Take Back the Night, the LGBTQ+ Conference, or the Vagina Monologues? These events are hosted by the AS Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC) every year. The GSEC (pronounced Gee-Seck) is a student-run activist organization at Chico State open Monday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 004 of the Bell Memorial Union (BMU).
Formerly known as the AS Women’s Center, the GSEC is dedicated to fulfilling a mission of empowerment, inclusion, and education for all students. In addition to putting on events, they also offer free resources like tampons, pads, condoms, lube, etc.
Interns and staff at the GSEC work to be as inclusive as possible. They are trained in inclusive language as well as feminist/queer theory and practices.
One of the first lessons learned at the GSEC is the difference between equity and equality. These two terms often get confused as the same concept: hence, people confusing the GSEC as the “Gender and Sexuality Equality Center.”
While equality specializes in sameness, equity prioritizes fairness.
Giving everyone the same thing (i.e. the same opportunities) only works if everyone is starting from the same place, or perhaps born into the same social location.
To illustrate this concept further, consider this example: imagine you have three people who need shoes. Equality is giving everyone the same shoe, regardless of their actual shoe size. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.
In theory, equality is not a bad thing. It’s just not always the appropriate tool to use when trying to make change happen. It’s simply a stepping stone for more tools to be had.
But Wait, Aren’t Differences a Bad Thing?
The GSEC operates with the belief that diversity is neither a bad thing nor something to be feared. They believe that not only should diversity be accepted, but it is should be celebrated.
One common misconception of differences is that they stand in the way of “unity.” This fallacy is largely due to a surface-level understanding of what equality fails to address, and why equity is the more appropriate response.
People at the GSEC understand that this can be a challenging concept to reconcile with if you come from a place lacking in representation of different identities and forms of self-expression. Rest assured, unlearning the “differences are bad” concept, although it is not without difficulty, is both possible and essential.
It’s Time to Stop Seeing this as a “THEM” issue, But as a “WE” Issue
Feminist Fridays (every other Friday October 2–December 4) is a semester-long series of events covering topics like dispelling myths of feminism, domestic violence awareness, consent, and self-love.
Queer Week (October 5–11) is a week full of events that aim to educate students and members of the Chico community on Queer issues and show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Everyone has a combination of qualities worthy of celebration, and in no way does that exclu
de you. Just as importantly, that doesn’t exclude others either. Shouldn’t Wildcats be there for each other and their communities? Isn’t that the “Wildcat Way?”