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UM research is creating spaces for joy

FKRM’s Fenton Litwiller is helping create spaces for queer youth to explore their gender identities.

May 12, 2023 — 

The University of Manitoba and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management is proud to support the university’s 2SLGBTQ+ community on campus, including through faculty member’s research.

For FKRM associate professor Fenton Litwiller, the centre of their SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) and CFI (Canadian Foundation for Innovation) funded research is queer celebration. Litwiller said that while much media representation focuses on queer struggle and trauma, they look at joy and gender affirmation.

“I want to recognize that struggle and trauma. I don’t want to diminish it or ignore it,” said Litwiller. “But I also want to create spaces for queer joy.”

Litwiller’s latest project looks at gender, youth, sexuality, and play. The project connects 2SLGBTQ+ youth to a drag performance and a gender play workshop.

“Drag artists mentor queer youth through makeup and movement, to music and costuming,” said Litwiller.

In an interview with University Affairs Magazine, Litwiller said the idea for the project stems from a group discussion with trans youth who said they wanted the chance to play with makeup, which can be a challenge for many who lack the financial resources and safe places to play with different gender expressions.

The workshops allow youth to form lasting connections with health workers and other queer youth, something that can be lifesaving.

May 26 marks the beginning of Pride Week in Winnipeg. Part of the larger Pride Season, the end of May is an opportunity for all GSRD (Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Diverse) communities and allies to celebrate.

Join in for the UM Campus Pride 2023 kick-off event! Beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Atrium of the Price Faculty of Engineering building on the Fort Garry campus, there will be remarks from special guest speakers, followed by and light refreshments.

You can also sign-up to participate with UM at the Pride Winnipeg Parade on June 4.

Check out the 2SLGBTQ+ Community page for more details about the kick off and other UM events happening during Pride Week and how you can get involved!

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