Dining For Diversity seeks to teach students about categorizing sexuality

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The smell of chicken tenders welcomed Rowan students interested in discussing Sexuality and Categorization last Wednesday at the Owl’s Nest in the Chamberlain Student Center.

The “Dining for Diversity” event featured a presentation by modern European history, Assistant Professor Jody Russell Manning and Assistant Director for mentoring and inclusion programs Temple Jordan.

Using his background in holocaust & genocide studies, Manning focused his presentation on the categorization of sexuality in Nazism.

Manning explained that homosexuals were identified with an upside-down purple triangle in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. He frequently referenced the book, “The Men With The Pink Triangle” written by Heinz Herger. The book discusses individuals’ experiences as homosexuals during the holocaust.

Manning expressed interest in choosing the topic for “Dining for Diversity” after attending a coming out session prior to coming up with the idea for his Dining for Diversity presentation. He decided to attend the session, and noticed that the session lacked the attendance of faculty. Being the only faculty member at the meeting motivated Manning to engage in helping students.

Jordan spoke after Manning, aiming to address categorization of sexuality in the modern world. She metaphorically used a vinyl record to illustrate modern day categorization in her Prezi presentation.

Jordan is Manning’s ‘Safe Zone’ instructor at Rowan. Safe Zone Training – a workshop for faculty to better provide safer spaces for LGBT students – aims to teach individuals how to become a competent ally to students. From his experiences with Jordan as his trainer, Manning thought that she would add clarity and an interesting perspective to the topic.

At first, Jordan didn’t know how she would present her point of view on the topic, but worked to create a presentation that would explain categorization of sexuality as much as possible in a short amount of time.

“We had a meeting and we talked about what [Manning] was thinking and what connections I could potentially bring,” Jordan said. “It’s a large topic.”

With her presentation, Jordan wanted to explore the topic as much as possible and give audience members as much understand of categorizing sexuality as possible. She wanted the audience to understand the variety of identities members of the LGBT community have from her presentation.

“That was my approach, to try and see where [Manning] customization lead to marginalization and look at how marginalized communities marginalized each other,” Jordan said.

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