On Monday, April 5, MBS Upper School students participated in a half-day workshop on campus designed to help them gain a better understanding of the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation and what it means to be an LGBTQIA+ ally. Thanks to MBS graduate Dan Levine ’19, who served as keynote speaker for the event.
The workshop began with an ice breaker exercise that emphasized common bonds followed by a video that reviewed LGBTQIA+ terminology and language. In small group discussions, students explored hypothetical scenarios involving members of the LGBTQIA+ community and ways an ally could make an impact. The students also gained self-awareness by participating in a “spectrum line” activity where they moved to different parts of the Founders Hall stage to show how traditionally masculine or feminine they act in different settings.
In the keynote address, Dan Levine ’19 discussed his journey as a transgender individual and underscored the positive impact allies have made in his life.
“For me, an ally is anyone who shows respect for another person. It’s important to recognize that we’re all different but we’re all human. Just being nice to each other can go a long way,” he said.
In a Q&A with students, Dan recalled an allyship moment that was especially meaningful to him.
“Right after I transitioned, I was sitting in the library or the intersection with a group of people, and someone used the wrong name or pronoun when speaking about me,” he recalled. “Another person – who I didn’t even know very well – stopped the conversation and said, ‘hey, that’s not his name’ and corrected them. The little moments of people looking out for me made me feel good.”
The forum concluded with students brainstorming about ways they could become better allies at MBS. They will share these takeaways at a future All-School Meeting and look forward to raising awareness among the larger student body.