#9: Retreat Reflection. Too much candy.

This weekend was full of excitement and productivity, we spent our Saturday morning rolling through pitches and seemingly endless amounts of candy. I spent the last few weeks focusing on racism in our schools, but if you view my last blog post, you will see why I decided to move onto something different. I was very excited for this weekend because it meant learning all about the other opportunities I could become a part of. There were so many great ideas presented but I found myself being drawn to the group Breaking Binary.

Their topic hits very close to home for me as I transitioned in a school environment and it was utterly terrifying. Breaking Binary focuses on improving life for gender variant kids in schools. My transition was hard, and continues to be hard. My school has been one of the good ones, they have two gender neutral bathrooms and allowed me to change my name in their system. Everyone makes and attempt to use the right pronouns and the right name. Unfortunately this is often not the case at other schools. Teachers are often unknowing and administrators are afraid of parent backlash. What we brainstormed this weekend was a way to provide simple education to educators, while also showing how important this really is.

We also connected with a sibling group, what we are affectionately calling Smashing Sexism. What we hope to do with them is make a combined toolbox for teachers and administrators in order to create a safer learning environment for students. These will hopefully be a webseries type of project.

Our plan for this week is to start basic research, outline a compelling narrative, develop contacts, and start revamping our website. Somehow I have become the team member with the most available contacts. Because of my weird tendency to know people, we might possibly get people like Gavin Grimm, Nicole Maines, Jackson Millarker and hopefully big names like Jazz Jennings and Laverne Cox to participate a tiny bit. Although I find that to be highly unlikely.

This weekend was wonderful and I am excited for what is to come!

Nathan DeGroot

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