News  Centre for Gender Advocacy takes a critical look at gender

Annual workshop series opens discussion on feminist organizing and action

To acquaint people with feminist organizing and action, the Centre for Gender Advocacy is putting on a two-week series from September 23 to October 4 entitled “Another Word for Gender.”

The Centre offers free services and resources to the Concordia and greater Montreal community, and advocates for a number of social justice issues. The workshops in the series address gender and social justice issues, including content on men and feminism, trans* history, missing and murdered indigenous women, and sexual assault awareness.

“These are issues that affect everybody, absolutely everybody,” Bianca Mugyenyi, programming and campaign coordinator of the Centre, told The Daily.

“A lot of the time people think that as a gender advocacy center, we are only dealing with women’s issues or trans* issues, but certainly not men’s issues. A lot of these so called ‘women’s issues,’ are men’s issues. We want to address that, and we feel that everybody needs to be engaged in order to challenge gendered violence.”

“Another Word for Gender” hopes to provide workshops and encourage the community to engage with a deeper understanding of gender. One such workshop dealing  with men and feminism, held on September 30, aimed to facilitate discussion on what it means to be a male feminist, along with other topics.

“The point of the workshop is to talk about our experiences with men and feminism. We’ve prepared questions such as ‘what does it mean to be a feminist man and do men suffer under patriarchy,’” said Dan Parker, one of the presenters of the “Men and Feminism” workshop.

“We also want to talk a bit about how we can see men as part of a feminist movement, as completely intrinsic and essential to the movement. [We want] to try to conceptualize this without stepping on the toes of women who are leading the movement,” said Tim Keen, another of the presenters of the “Men and Feminism” workshop.

“Obviously there is a massive problem if you start showing up as a man in a feminist movement and start taking control because you’re perpetuating the same problem that you’re trying to solve,” Keen continued.

The Centre hopes its annual series will encourage personal development and mobilization. “A pretty important kind of energy is required for social change and social justice, [and we] try to do that by inviting incredible, real people with real stories,” said Mugyenyi.

“[The “Another Word for Gender” series is an] opportunity for people to gain skills; [it’s] an intro to feminist organizing and action. We’re pretty serious about our desire for people to […] become social actors.”

With files from Hannah Besseau.