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May 30, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – During a recent presentation on Understanding Gender, guest speaker Socorro Sevilla offered a key recommendation for encountering gender expansive persons: common courtesy and respect.
A 25-year social services and social work professional and now a counselor with a private practice in Adrian, Socorro recently gave the opening presentation in a new series offered by the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Office of Racial Diversity and Cultural Inclusion. The series brings speakers from various racial, religious, cultural, and gender communities to the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse to present their world view.
“My hope is through understanding and education, [the series] can bring compassion, and we can be better allies to so many communities that need help with their voice,” said Kevin Hofmann, Director of the Office of Racial Diversity and Cultural Inclusion.
Speaking to an audience of Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and community members, Socorro noted that many people experience “confusion, fear, anxiety, and questions” when working through the changing views of sex and gender: from traditional, binary, biological male and female to include transgender, non-binary, gender fluid, and other gender expansive identities.
In recent years, Socorro said, the idea of binary gender shifted to seeing gender as a spectrum: a line along which people fall, with male on one end to female on the other. Yet more recently, they explained, gender is seen as a galaxy. “Every person’s gender is a star somewhere in this galaxy – unique, distinct, but maybe clustered in areas.”
Socorro spoke from experience as a counselor primarily to youth, with 82% of their clients in the LGBTQI+ community. Many in the LGBTQI+ community experience “distinct and chronic stressors related to their sexual orientation and/or identity,” as well as to racial identity. Many of these stressors come from the assumptions that others make about their identity. The stress, they said, is “not so much what’s happening [inside you] … It’s dealing with everybody else’s stuff coming at you.” Young people and those who have been rejected by their families can easily internalize the messages they get from others, Socorro added.
Socorro suggested a simple way to help people in the LGBTQI+ community: common courtesy and respect, accepting them for who they are and using their preferred names and pronouns. This simple form of respect can decrease suicide in the LGBTQI+ community by half, Socorro said. “If that’s all we need to do to cut suicide rates in half, I don’t think it’s that much to ask.”
Watch the entire video of Socorro’s presentation below.
May 5, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Seasons of Beauty, an art exhibit at the INAI Gallery, offers a springtime look at the brilliant digital paintings of Sister Kathleen Voss, OP, watercolor paintings by Sister Janet Wright, OP, and paper-cut silhouettes by Sister Mary Jean Dorcy, OP (1914-1988). Each artist shares her unique artwork and her unique way of seeing and creating.
The exhibit opens on Friday, May 26, 2023, and runs through Sunday, October 1, 2023. An artists’ reception is from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday, June 4, 2023. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, or by appointment by calling 517-266-4090.
Sister Kathleen creates electronic paintings using the Corel Painter and Corel Draw programs, and electronic brushes. She is motivated by her deep desire to express images from nature that call people to stop, look, and experience.
Through watercolor, Sister Janet invites viewers to share in her emotional response to the fleeting beauty of nature. In close-ups, she creates dramatic “nature portraits.” She has a keen sensitivity to the relationship between nature and healing and between painting and healing and holds deep concerns about the preservation of nature.
The late Sister Mary Jean – a member of the Edmonds Dominican Sisters, a congregation that merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2003 – created black, finely cut silhouettes from paper. She created many patterns and images, all intricately cut with a simple pair of scissors, and by the 1940s was recognized as one of the leading American paper-cut artists. Her work comes primarily from religious themes, such as tradition, saints, and feasts.
INAI (in-EYE), a Japanese word meaning within, is a place for quiet reflection and art and is open to the public. The INAI Gallery is adjacent to the north entrance of Weber Retreat and Conference Center on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse Campus.
Traveling east on Siena Heights Drive, pass the Adrian Rea Literacy Center and turn left just before the solar panel-covered parking lot. Follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000 or check out the Weber Center website, https://webercenter.org/.