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Building Trust

September 3, 2009
Students write associations with the word "gay".

As students move away from racism and sexism into heterosexism and homophobia, the conversations become more personal. Some students in the room have never thought about their sexuality, and others have thought about it constantly while never coming out to their families and friends. At the end of the session, several first-year publicly state their sexuality to the entire room. Some are confidant, and others fight back tears as they stand.

The session goes overtime and during the five minute break, several dozen students linger to support those who stood up and spoke. Hugs are exchanged, students pat one another on the back, and someone helps one student to his feet. Outside a few students are talking on their cell phones. One girl’s voice falters as she chokes back tears in a conversation with someone from back home.

Just two days in, these students, once strangers, are learning to trust one another and come together as a group. There are no more workshops for today, but tomorrow students will need to do the same when they discuss classism.

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