Common Ground Blog
Why is most of Lance’s beard gone??

Hi y’all! I just got back from Creating Change and decided I needed to check out the shaving kit we got from The Art of Shaving in our conference bags! It was an amazing shaving experience.

But! This is not the only takeaway from the conference.

The huge thing that I am thinking about back home is romantic identity and relationship. I went to a workshop (with Chris, Izzy, Alex, and Allen) entitled “The End of Romance?” which asked us to all examine the way we think about (and have thought about) romance.

We started with questions about what we learned growing up — for me, I learned that romance looked like The Bachelor; a man taking a woman out on really extravagant dates that probably include candles, wine, and a nice view. Maybe they kiss. They never have sex. They fall in love with nice scenery in the background.

Then, we moved on to talk about the way that changed when we came out as queer, and what the queer community tends to define as romance.

Finally, we looked into what we are actually looking for in our romantic partners. As some of you may know, I’m in a relationship — I honestly thought this workshop could completely break it. I have a history of polyamory, but my relationship is 99% closed/monogamous right now, so I had a few concerns going into these conversations. I was incredibly surprised when it ended up affirming everything about the way my boyfriend and I interact and treat each other. I reminded myself that I am most productive when I spend time by myself but am in a relationship — that I do everything I have to get done in the days I don’t see my partner so that I can see them and pay attention to them. This made me realize how important time apart can truly be, and really helped me quite a bit. (Also, I had the realization that romantic friendships CAN be sexual in nature which totally blew my mind!)

I plan on leading a meeting about this kind of stuff soon — really digging at what we want out of our partners - do we want flowers and chocolate and expensive dates? Do we want to cuddle on the couch at home? Do we simply want to work in the presence of another person? Let’s find out together!

The Black Institute

The first ever Black Institute was held at the Creating Change conference. It was such an eye opening experience to see people who look like me and who share my identities. I got to hear so many different opinions of black queer activists who have came before me, such as James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin. I loved being able to talk about who I am and the intersections of that. I found family within my family. Such an amazing time, and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

- Michelle

Today is our first meeting of the Fall semester!

Come by the Multicultural Affairs multipurpose space at 618 South Michigan, 4th floor, from 1:00 to ~2:30 today. We’ll be getting to know each other, talking about the club, getting ready for a great semester! 

Who is excited about surviving their first week of college!?
Common Ground’s first meeting of the 2013 Fall semester will be on Monday, September 9th, 1:00, at 618 South Michigan, 4th floor.

Common Ground’s last meeting of the semester is TODAY! Join at at MCA, 618 South Michigan, 4th floor for a very special meeting all about feelin’ GOOD! 

Don’t forget Columbia students, Common Ground’s Open House Pizza Party is today!!! Don’t miss out on an opportunity for free food and fun! Come visit us at the Loft from 11:30 - 1:30! See ya there!

Don’t forget Columbia students, Common Ground’s Open House Pizza Party is today!!! Don’t miss out on an opportunity for free food and fun! Come visit us at the Loft from 11:30 - 1:30! See ya there!

Panel about Creating Change is this Friday during our regular meeting time! Be there or be square!

Hey ya’ll (gettin’ my Atlanta/southern accent on), it’s Lance!

Fair warning, I am completely drained so some of this may not make the most sense, but I am making a genuine attempt.

I just want to update on where I am right now both personally and with the conference. Today I didn’t do entirely what I planned on doing, but ended up having some incredibly informational, important, emotional conversations. I went to two workshops today, one being on the dynamic that is created between people that come out to their family (particularly trans* identified folks) and those family members that are also going through that experience. I was particularly effected by the fact that the transman that spoke on this topic was a person of color. I have had multiple dialogues revolving around the QPOC community and appreciate not only a trans* perspective but a person of color perspective. This really hit home for me because my family has yet to truly understand or speak about my identity, and that lack of conversation can be triggering to me. I’ve come away from that experience with great, new resources on how to speak to and influence my family’s understanding regarding my identity.

I also went to a workshop on ex-gay therapy, conversion therapy, etc. (whatever word you may use for this experience) which was run by someone that I had previously met and truly connected to. It was hard to recognize that these situations still exist and that too few people are bothering to speak about them.

Furthermore, I feel that the conference has furthered the emotional connections I have already established with the people that I am here with. I have spoken with each person that has joined us on this journey and we each agree that we are closer for having gone through this together.

Overall, I feel empowered, important and ready to come back to Chicago and create change.

Hey Guys! Lance here..

Feeling a little restless here in Atlanta at 7:40am and totally not interested in going to breakfast before 8 for whatever reason, so I thought I’d break down what I’m planning on doing and blogging about later!

1) I’m going to a workshop on trans* inclusivity on a K-12 level which will be so brilliant, hopefully, for work that Common Ground can do with high schools in the Chicago area and otherwise (something a few of us are talking about).

2) No idea on the second morning workshop but after that, probably gonna take a nap. The conference is exhausting in the best ways possible.

3) A workshop on conversion therapy. After having heard personal stories a few time this week, this is a conversation I want to be having.

4) Who knows what else might happen!

In strange primetime news fashion, tune in later to find out what happens!