Get Excited!

14 Aug

Hey GFers!

Staff arrive in exactly one week and the first-years arrive in just 12 days! We can’t believe it is almost time for FYSOP!

What we’re excited for:

1. New cheers!

2. New friends!

3. Doing service!

4. Ridin’ that pony!

5. Meaningful reflections!

6. Back to the FYSOP skit!

7. A lot of dancing!

8. Breaking down stereotypes!

9. The Fusion event!

10. Meeting YOU!

See you soon!



FYSOP Travel Itinerary!

8 Aug

Travel Itinerary Promo ImageMoving off to college is so exciting but can be hectic with all the packing and traveling. Fortunately for you FYSOPers we try to make the transition as smooth as possible! Please take ONE MINUTE to fill out the mandatory FYSOP Travel Itinerary form. If your moving in from around the corner and just bringing one suitcase, or flying in from abroad and shipping all of your life’s belongings, we need to know your story! Where are you coming from? How are you getting here? Do you need a pick-up from the airport?

Help us make Move-In Day on August 26th a fun and exciting day by filling out your travel itinerary at This way we can welcome you to campus right when you arrive!

GF Lingo

22 Jul

Hey GFers!

A diagram of several Gender Neutral Pronouns.

A diagram of several Gender Neutral Pronouns.

With a month left until FYStaff training, we’d like to congratulate you all again on your acceptance to FYSOP, especially those of you who are joining the Gender Focus Issue Area! We cannot wait to finally meet you all in person in August!

In Gender Focus, we use a lot of terminology that may be unfamiliar to some. We always encourage respectful questions if there is ever a point where you are unsure as to what people are referring. In this post, we highlight a few important terms (though this is by no means the master post of terms) that we think would be helpful in our discussions as well as everyday navigating of the GF website!

Ally: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.

Androgynous: A person who may appear as and exhibit traits traditionally associated as both male and female, or as neither male nor female, or as in between male and female.

Cisgender: 1) A person whose gender identity is aligned to what they were designated at birth on the basis of their physical sex. 2) a non-trans* person.

Down Low (D/L): A term primarily used in homosexual/queer male communities of color, particularly those of Africana descent, denoting a lack of disclosure of homosexual desire, behavior, or identity.

Femme: 1) A person who expresses and/or identifies with femininity 2) A community label for people who identify with femininity specifically through a queer and/or politically radical and/or subversive context. 3) A feminine identified person of any gender/sex.

Genderqueer: 1) An umbrella term for people whose gender identity is outside of, not included within, or beyond the binary of female and male. 2) Gender non-conformity through expression, behavior, social roles, and/or identity. 3) People who identify as both transgender and queer who see gender identity and sexual orientation as overlapping and interconnected.

Heteronormativity: A binary gender system in which only two sexes are accepted. Followers of this concept maintain that one’s gender identity and one’s gender role ought to be congruent with one’s external genitalia, and that one ought to display a heterosexual sexual preference.

Heterosexism: Prejudice against individuals and groups who display non-heterosexual behaviors or identities, combined with the majority power to impose such a prejudice.

IntersexOne who is born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia and/or an internal reproductive system that is not considered “standard” or normative for either the male or female sex. Preferred term to hermaphrodite.

Pangender:  A person whose gender identity is comprised of many gender identities and/or expressions.

Pansexual: 1) A sexual orientation where a person desires sexual partners based on personalized attraction to specific physical traits, bodies, identities, and/or personality features which may or may not be aligned to the gender and sex binary. 2) A sexual orientation signifying a person who has potential emotional, physical, and/or sexual attraction to any sex, gender identity or gender expression. 3) Sexual orientation associated with desiring/loving a person’s personality primarily, and specific bodily features secondarily.

Queer: 1) An umbrella term representative of the vast matrix of identities that are outside of the gender normative and heterosexual or monogamous majority. Reclaimed after a history of pejorative use, starting in the 1980s. 2) An umbrella term denoting a lack of normalcy in terms of one’s sexuality, gender, or political ideologies in direct relation to sex, sexuality, and gender.

Transgender (TG): 1. An umbrella term describing a diverse community of people whose gender identity differs from that which they were designated at birth on the basis of physical sex characteristics. 2. Expressions and identities that challenge the binary male/female gender system in a given culture. 3. Anyone who transcends the conventional definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and whose self-identification or expression challenges traditional notions of “male” and “female.”

Transphobia: 1. The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as transgender. 2. Fear and hatred of all those individuals who transgress, violate or blur the dominant gender categories in a given society.

Two-Spirit(ed): 1) Native American term to describe person who embodies attributes of both masculine and feminine genders, have distinct gender and social roles in their tribes, and are often involved with rituals. Their dress is usually mixture of male and female articles and they are seen as a separate or third gender. The term two-spirit is usually considered to specific to the Zuni tribe. Similar identity labels vary by tribe such as Wintke (Lakota), Hee-man-eh (Cheyenne), and Nedleeh (Navajo) 2) Native Americans who are queer or transgender.



Historical Day!

26 Jun

Defense of Marriage Act

The United States Supreme Court has made key decisions regarding same sex marriage, and Wendy Davis, a Texas Senator, became an instant sensation with her 10-hour filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill.


As of result of the Supreme Court rulings, Part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down, and “the court rulings mean that same-sex couples who marry in states where it’s legal for them to do so will be treated the same as heterosexual married couples by the federal government when it comes to things like retirement benefits and taxes”. The justices also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California after rejecting an appeal on the state’s Proposition 8. California voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008 with 52% of the vote shortly after the state Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriages are legal. The measure put gay and lesbian marriages on hold in the state, but a federal appeals court later rule Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Today, same sex marriage is once again legal in California, making it one of 13 states in America to have legalized gay marriage, as well as Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, in Texas…


On Monday, the Texas State Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass SB5, a bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, as well as adding stringent new restrictions on how clinics get licensed. The law would have closed 37 of the state’s 42 clinics, leaving hundreds of thousands of women in Texas and neighboring states like Oklahoma with no way to access abortion care. On Tuesday, however, Wendy Davis launched a 13-hour filibuster during which she was not allowed to stray off topic, use the bathroom, or even so much as lean against her desk.


Davis, who became a single mother at 19, went on to graduate from Harvard Law School with honors, effectively killed SB5 thanks to her filibuster and won a major victory for not only women of Texas but across the nation.

Our First Site Visits!

21 Jun

Coordinator Emma at Boomerangs

Hey FYSOPers! We would like to once again congratulate those who have already been accepted to FYSOP, and more specifically all the new GFers! The FYSOP Coordinators have been hard at work calling the first batch of accepted first-years and letting everyone know their issue areas.

We have had an amazing time talking to you all on the phone, and getting to know you at Orientation events. If you’d like to start to interact with other students who are doing FYSOP, you can check out the official Facebook page for FYSOP, here. It is a great resource for any questions or concerns you may have about FYSOP, as it is run by the FYSOP Coordinators. For those GFers who we have talked to, we have an individual, closed Facebook group, which you can join here.


Coordinator Tré at Boomerangs

This week, GF went on visits to two our sites. On Thursday, we checked out Boomerangs, a thrift-shop run by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Two groups will be volunteering there during the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday, and will watch documentaries relating to GF in the afternoons.

On Friday, we visited another site, Emerge, an organization that works with the abusers of partner abuse cases. Two groups will be volunteering for the entire day on Wednesday and Friday, helping Emerge with the everyday actions of their office.

We have also put up our “Sites” tab where you can read more about our sites as we book and visit them!


Our Vision for FYSOP24

12 Jun

This year for Gender Focus we have broken down our focus into two main categories: stereotypes and institutions. The topics within GF affect everyone on both a personal and societal level, and we have chosen to face them on both fronts. Stereotypes affect the way others perceive us as well as the way we perceive ourselves in our day-to-day interactions, whereas institutions guide how we must navigate through our lives. We look to challenge, question, and explore in relation to our own lives, the service we will be doing, and those we hope to help.

Stereotype – (Noun) a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person


People of Color (PoC) – When the LGBTQ community is discussed,the people who are generally thought about are white, gay cis-males, and when body image and sexual assault are discussed, the people who are generally thought about are white, straight cis-females. This idea that these are the only kind of people  that these issues affect makes it so anyone that falls outside of these categories is marginalized, and less likely to seek and/or receive support. We hope to address and break down these walls that hold out certain people.

beauty 2Definition of Beauty – In a population so diverse as in the United States of America, we have somehow created a rigorous (and often unattainable) standard of “beauty.” This leads us to the questions: What is beauty? Who gets to decide what beauty is? How do they decide? What happens when you can not live up to this “beauty?” We plan to dissect our own criteria for beauty, in addition to examining how it influences body image, and spread body-positivity throughout our population.

LoveInAction-US-Cover-950x1344People of Faith – With high publicity of religious “ex-gay” organizations, such as Love In Action (LIA) and others like it, that oppose LGBTQ rights and try to “convert” people through therapy, religion as a whole has gotten a reputation as intolerant of LGBTQ individuals. We intend to show that there are many religious people that are accepting to all people, and connect LGBTQ individuals with the resources to continue to have the community and support that religion can have in their lives here in the Boston community.

Institution – (Noun) an established law, practice, or custom

gender_1_~3Gender Binary – In Western Society, there is the general belief that sex and gender are one in the same, and that there are two options: male and female. Along with these two strict categories, are certain characteristics that one must possess, and specific behaviors that one must follow. We aim to discuss how our custom of sorting people into two categories from birth affects our lives, if it’s possible to change, and how we can go about enacting that change.

MediaMedia – In a world thats so closely interconnected, we must ponder how the media influences our beliefs and perception. Are we, as a society, changed by the media, or is the media simply a reflection of who we are today? Can we blame the media for issues such as eating disorders and hypersexualization? We hope to better understand our relationship with the media, as its importance in daily life grows.

disappointmentVictim Blaming/Shaming – We live in a society that teaches how to try to prevent being sexually assaulted, rather than not to sexually assault others. When sexual assault happens, the actions of the survivor are questioned. This not only prevents the survivor from healing, but also validates the idea that sexual assault is an individual’s own burden, and not a problem that everyone must confront in order to change. We aspire to continue the wonderful work of the FYSOP23 coordinators and confront Rape Culture in Boston and beyond.

We are so excited to explore these areas throughout the summer, and to have thoughtful and important conversations  with both our FYStaff during Staff Training and our volunteers on Education Day in August!


Boston Pride 2013

8 Jun

IMG_2221Hey GFers! Hope you’re all off to a great start to an amazing summer! Here in Boston, the FYSOP Coordinators have just finished our May training with the Student Advisors, Community Advisors, and Program Advisors from the Office of Orientation! We are all so excited to start seeing all of you First-Years this week when Session One begins!

The FYSOP Coordinators have already started contacting sites in the Community Service Center, and Gender Focus has several booked and ready for us in August! We are so excited to be returning to some GF favorites and also being able to try out some new sites with our newly formed vision for GF in FYSOP24, which will soon be up on this blog!


The FYSOP Coordinators also recently attended Boston Pride! Pictured above, Sam Straitz (A Disabilities FYCO), Kelsey Krook (An Animals FYCO), Emily Lawson (A Human Rights FYCO) and I, along with many other summer staff, woke up bright and early to watch the annual parade and check out the different organizations that set up booths around the Government Center T Station. We were also able to obtain new information that spanned all of our issue areas. Talk about FYSOP FUSION!

As an added bonus, we got to see one of the sassy GF FYStaff, Jarrod Macullar! Which brings us to our next announcement: STAFF BIOS WILL BE UP THIS WEEK! Keep checking out our blog for more GF Updates!