Speaker Provides New Perspectives on Gender

On Tuesday, Sam Killermann discussed his experiences with snap judgments, identity and oppression to help students feel comfortable in their own queer skin in honor of Queer History Month.

“I wanted to target the male students on campus in order to create a safer space for the queer-identified people on campus,” said Peer Services Coordinator of The Women’s Center, Yovanna Garcia.

Killermann began his lecture with a clarification: “I’m not gay,” he said.

He clarified this because it is a misconception that many people often have about him due to his clean-cut appearance. Killermann is simply used to people assuming he is gay and questioning his sexuality.

The only time it truly bothers him is when he thinks he is dating a girl, but the girl believes she is hanging out with her gay best friend. Killermann recalled a scenario just a few hours earlier where the rental car salesperson anticipated he wanted the tiny silver car because she assumed he was gay after meeting him for 30 seconds. He took the car just to spite her.

Killermann asked the audience various open-ended questions, such as what the positive stereotypes of gay men are. After he received a collection of answers, he explained to everyone that positive stereotypes are not actually positive because they make people who are classified under those stereotypes feel like they need to fit the mold, and when they fail to fit this mold they feel inadequate. 

He recognized that everyone takes part in classifying these stereotypes and making snap judgments, but it is important to not openly express these thoughts.

“You have a choice on whether you act on your snap judgment,” said Killermann.

If no one acted with prejudice against others, the cycle of oppression would be over.

Students felt uplifted and motivated by Killermann’s open and honest talk about stereotypes.

“It was refreshing to see positive portrayals of masculinity.  His performance was inspiring,” said senior Ramses Delarosa.

Samantha Getz, a sophomore, also felt motivated by the new ideas about stereotypes that Killermann discussed.

“The lecture gave me a new perspective on how often people make snap judgments.  He has made me want to be a better person.”