Ahead of next week’s conference, here’s your final sneak peek at one of more than 110 breakout sessions that will be taking place at Facing Race. Today’s Q&A is with Race Forward’s Malcolm Shanks, who will be facilitating a breakout session on Decolonizing Gender.

Why did you feel this subject was important for a breakout session?

I think it is always important to reconsider any social structure handed down to us from the perspective of whether it benefits or harms Black and Indigenous people. It doesn’t take too much to see that the gender binary has done a lot of harm to a lot of people. Decolonizing Gender is an opportunity to consider the “how” and “why” of that harm to Black and Indigenous people. We deserve to build a way to freedom using words and concepts that better hold our lived realities and legacies of resistance.

What can attendees expect to do / learn during this session?

Attendees can expect to talk with their conference comrades about their own journey to understanding their gender. We will have a short presentation about how the gender binary was invented, and then a whole bunch of interactive activities to encourage conversation and brainstorming. We should expect to go deep and not avoid hard topics. We should expect to give as much as we get from this learning space.

What do you hope folks will leave this session with?

I hope people leave this session with a deeper commitment to ending gender violence and exploitation. I also hope they’ll leave the session with more tools to talk about how transphobia and white supremacy are related, and I hope they’ll leave excited and ready to facilitate their own learning journeys!