By Abbey Randall, Staff Writer
The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) will be holding a campus event called Lost in Trans*lation to discuss gender pronoun non-assumptions. Jules Purnell, a college student attending the University of Southern Maine (USM), will be facilitating the event.
Purnell does not go by the pronouns of “he” or “she” and “him” or “her,” but rather the pronouns “ze” and “hir.” Ze is an activist and educator who was a part of the Yes on One campaign and ze is currently majoring in Women and Gender Studies/Sociology at USM.
Gaeyln Aguilar, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and her husband, Gustavo Aguilar, Assistant Professor of Experimental Performance, have wanted to hold an event about gender pronoun non-assumptions. Through a 2012 UMF graduate and found Jules Purnell.
“In talking with hir, I can sense that ze has a really upbeat approach,” said Gaeyln Aguilar in a recent email interview, “and knows how to make intimidating topics like transgender competency less scary.”
Purnell has also conducted other workshops on topics related to gender and sexuality through hir Unitarian Universalist church such as the Philly Trans Health Conference, and the Queer and Trans Youth Summit. Ze is also a blogger for The Bilerico Project, which is a group blog of advocates debating politics, pop culture and everything LGBTQ. The acronym LGBTQ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.
“It will be really interesting… watching someone be so open about something that is so personal for a lot of people,” said Delainey Kein, a freshman Elementary Education major, who heard about the event through her anthropology course. “I am hoping they will get posters up so people will know about it.”
Being that Purnell has never made an appearance at UMF, some students are being encouraged to attend this event from their professors. Lost in Trans*lation is aimed to help answer questions and concerns that people may have about gender differences and pronoun assumptions.
“I am encouraging my Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies students to attend,” said Tanya Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. “Many of them have expressed interest in learning and talking more about transgender-related issues outside the classroom.”
Lost in Trans*lation is going to be held at the Olsen Student Center in the Landing on April 25th at 8:00 p.m. For more information about the event feel free to contact Professor Gaelyn Aguilar at firstname.lastname@example.org.