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Common Ground

Common Ground ActivitiesCommon Ground is the LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and allies) alliance on campus. Common Ground intends to bring together people of any and all sexual orientations and gender identities. Members encourage a constant questioning of gender identity and sexuality.

Goals

  • Putting an end to homophobia and heterosexism
  • Breaking down gender roles that are inherent in society
  • Rejecting the idea of a gender binary (that gender only exists in two forms: male and female)

Past events

Always encouraging the challenging of binaries, Common Ground hosts many events every school year to break away from what most students might call "normality."

  • Queer Prom. Some students dressed in drag and others just dressed flamboyantly to attend a gender-bending promenade on the Gizmo Patio
  • Drag Workshop. Members of the club instructed other students about the best ways to apply lasting makeup or fake beards as well as the best ways to dress convincingly enough to "pass" for the opposite gender
  • Campus celebrations for National Coming Out Day
  • Day of Silence. Nationally recognized, Day of Silence is a day during which all people usually persecuted for their LGBTQ identities remain silent to bring attention to the fact that their issues are silenced on a daily basis. Common Ground annually recognizes this day
  • "Big Gay" Conference. Each year, students have the chance to travel to the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally Queer College Conference, held annually at a university in the Midwest, and discuss LGBTQ issues with students from other schools

Past speakersTabling for Common Ground

  • Robyn Ochs, a bisexual writer, speaker, activist, and teacher, came to Knox to lead two discussions ("Loosening the Gender Girdle" and "Identity and the Sexuality Spectrum") and a workshop. She focused on teaching students the vast array of gender identities, and also the importance of differentiating between sex and gender
  • Scott Turner Schofield, a performance artist and gender activist, visited Knox in the spring of 2009 for a three-day residency. Self-described as "a man who was a woman, a lesbian turned straight guy who is often mistaken for a gay teenager," Schofield led a talk about social change and how it relates to theatre, a dialogue between Greek and non-Greek students, and performed a one-man show, "Debutante Balls," about coming out in Southern society

Common Ground is open to and welcomes people of all identities and holds meetings weekly in the Human Rights Center.