A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
issues that cross race, class and gender
How are people of color represented in
lines.  (For more information and further
your group?
elaboration of these issues please see the
The very first thing to realize is that com 
section on Diversity in Chapter 3,"Man 
ing out and living in the lgbt community
aging Your Group", pp 55 78.)
is qualitatively different for people of
color than it is for white and white ethnic
How are women/ men represented in your
people.  Many of the services provided
group?
for lgbt students, if they even exist, tend
LGBT organizations often fail to equally
to focus on the needs and concerns of
represent both genders.  Again, keep in
European Americans, with little attention
mind that this is fine if your group was
devoted to the additional needs of stu 
formed primarily to support lesbians or
dents of color.
gay men, etc.  However, make sure that
this is clear from the outset.  If your
There are some important issues to
group isn t gender specific, make sure
understand when we talk about lgbt peo 
that the dominant gender is making a
ple of color.  Sometimes lgbt students feel
concerted effort to obtain representation
as if they must choose whether to primar 
from the minority gender.  This will not
ily identify with the mostly straight com 
happen just by sitting there and hoping.
munities of color or the mostly white lgbt
You must actively go and pursue people
community.  It is stressful to deal with the
from the under represented gender.
homophobia of one community and the
racism of the other.  It is hard to feel like
Often it is women who are the under rep 
you belong anywhere when you come
resented gender, and men will be in the
from two or more oppressed groups
majority.  If this is the case, it is important
because it often feels like you must
for men to take a close look at how the
choose which one you feel is more
power/ decision making structure of the
important.  
group is organized, what the group norms
are, and what activities the group has
As a group, it is important to create a wel 
done.  It is not acceptable to have men in
coming environment that allows
all the power positions.  Everyone, and
all parts of someone s
your group as a whole, will be better off
identity to be rec 
if the power is more evenly distributed
o g n i z e d
among both genders.
One good way to meet the needs of the
minority gender is to ask them what their
needs are.  It is important to ask members
of the under represented gender to be
specific about their requests and expecta 
tions.   
and celebrated.  Additionally, it is
important to remember that all stu 
dents of color will not have the same
experience.  For example, Asian Ameri 
can students have a qualitatively different
D e f i n i n g   Y o u r   G r o u p
M     5






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