So I’ve got to go in to campus this a.m. for a GLBT[QI] meeting, followed by an afternoon mediation between students. Long time readers know that Pov U is not a queer friendly campus and student meetings are largely done through secret/closed listservs and quickly circulated spots. Today’s meeting will be slightly more public than that b/c of a conflict seemingly between GLB students and a trans student. (I say seemingly b/c one of the issues at hand is whether there are trans students on both sides of the issue or not.) The public nature of the discussion makes it feel unsafe to many of the parties involved and it is likely that many of them will not show up. More importantly, it is likely that the bones of contention – who is trans and who gets to speak – will not be resolved as a result. Both I and a fellow faculty member have been asked to moderate by all sides as known members and allies that everyone involved respects. My fellow moderator has already sent me an email wishing he could get out of it b/c drama is likely. A similar online conflict that denigrates me without evidence could be my ticket out of it. Honestly we are both just really swamped untangling where the hurt happened, what the facts are, and how to work through the emotions and the identities that do not fit neatly into the alphabet, particularly those who do not feel they should have to identify, and then there are those who have identified but only under promise of anonymity which are now an important factor in the outcome of this conflict. Both of us however, will be there b/c we care about everyone involved, the sense of hurt and actual hurt, and the project at hand. g-d help us all.
I’m really stuck on how this all boils down to issues of trusting across difference, speaking from a place of care, and learning to navigate conflict in ways that recognize each others abilities, needs, and issues. It is not an easy task with the accusations are flying on all sides. It is harder when somethings are about what is known, what is made up to justify a position, and what is kept to oneself or in ones closet . . . This is probably the best time and the worst time for me to be doing this.
(I edited the rest of this post b/c some students involved are aware of the blog or matching the circumstances to our campus and its best we talk specifics on the listserv; but I didn’t want to delete any comments here either.)