Gender-punks group established as a community support group

By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer

Gender-punks, established last year, is a group operating out of the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality and accepts members who identify as non-binary, trans, and genderless, as well as  those questioning their gender and sexual identities.

Gender-punks focuses on transgender and non-binary as well as non-gendered people and provides an open environment for them. It meets weekly in the CWGS, at the Center’s room on the second floor of the Campus Center.

Starting in his first year, co-chair Andrew DaCosta had the idea for the group as a way to find support and community for trans people. Since most of his friends were trans or non-binary themselves, “they were interested in having a support group for people like us.”

He has run the group since then, and focuses on keeping the group centered around non-binary, trans, and genderless people as a supportive and community setting.

The group then focuses on activities like playing games, having discussions, and focusing on “generally having a good time,” DaCosta says.

The meetings all begin with a general introduction from each of the members, including their names and preferred gender pronouns.

In addition, they also discuss the positives and challenges they faced during the week at the meeting as part of their introduction. The meeting then proceeds onto normal activities that they perform.

As co-chair, DaCosta focuses on organizing the meetings and running the group itself. While the group is situated within the CWGS, it is student-run and not directed by faculty or other members of UMass Dartmouth directly.

As a safe-space for individuals with different gender identities and values, Gender-punks focuses more on “spend[ing] time with others like ourselves.” He describes the group environment that Gender-punks has created as a friendly and open environment.

With the normal activities occurring at the weekly meetings, Gender-punks also engages in special events throughout the year, such as last year.

The group hosted a showing of the film Paris is Burning, a documentary about the ball culture and drag performances in New York City.

This Friday is an event for the members of Gender-punks featuring a clothing swap. The clothing swap, as DaCosta describes it, is designed “for people who need clothes to help feel more comfortable in their presentation.”

This year, DaCosta is not the only chair running the group, as he was previously. He will be joined by Lily Fisher, and they will help co-chair the group together and run the activities and events.

Emphasized with the people and support there, DaCosta described it as “nice to have a safe space to talk about basically everything with like-minded people. This is a unique group, that provides an environment that is hard to find anywhere else.”

For further details on Gender-punks, email either DaCosta or Fisher. The group also maintains a weekly mailing list, which can be accessed via the co-chairs of the group as well.

The next event for Gender-punks will be this Friday, March 24.

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