As graduation nears and my days at Ohio University are dwindling, I often find myself reflecting on my time here. Albeit I have only been here for two years—I made the decision to follow my partner here for medical school after living in Bowling Green and abroad—these two years have in fact been my most enlightening years to date. As I reflected upon why I thought these two years were amazing, I kept coming back to one decision: to become a student of WGSS. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies has been most influential in understanding myself in a world of difference. While I must admit I first came to WGS 1000 in order to fulfill a credit, I was hooked from the first day. Following the course, I decided to sign up for the certificate program and continue this incredible experience.
WGSS has not only taught me about the inherent privileges that I have as a white, cisgender male (while also literally teaching me the definition of those words) but that there are many times when I need to check these privileges as well. WGSS has lead me some of the most outstanding and most dedicated faculty that Ohio University has to offer. WGSS classes are often very personal in terms of experience and emotion. Most people who take such courses, myself included, are at a crossroads in their lives and yearn to learn more about themselves in terms of identity. Thus, when one comes to such terms or realizations, it is often not only an experience for the specific individual, but for the entre class as well. This is extraordinary for a college classroom, and something that I have not experienced in the other departments that I am involved with. This classroom experience is invaluable and in face what makes WGSS so unique. The opportunities in the WGSS program now include study abroad experiences, major research experiences and projects, and of course the opportunity to make life long friends who are dedicated to social justice issues.
Similarly, WGSS led me to my current position as a student worker in the Women’s Center. I cannot reiterate enough how thankful I am for having been offered such a great opportunity during my final year at Ohio University. While being the “lone male worker” in the Women’s Center seemed un-newsworthy to me, that didn’t appear to be the case. I was surprised when I was asked to be interviewed by The Post about my experience working in the Women’s Center as a male—as if male allies in the fight against gender oppression is something to celebrate, when in fact it is women who should be celebrated for somehow managing to survive in a patriarchal, capitalist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, ageist, transphobic, ableist society. As I reflected upon this interview, I realized that the fight is nowhere near over. The experiences of women, and all marginalized groups, are largely ignored and unacknowledged. Without the support, space, staff, programming, and resources that the Women’s Center offers, such experiences would likely not receive the all too little attention that they do now on this campus. So while I am excited to be moving onto the next chapter of my life, I am confident that I am a much better person for becoming involved in WGSS and the Women’s Center. And while I strive, and will continue to strive, each and every day to be a better, open, and more understanding person, I must concede that WGSS has left me with a strong foundation to build from.
–Kyle Serrott, Graduating “lone male” Student Worker