Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Comedian Sam Killermann to Address Complexities of Gender with a Smile
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Sunday, April 9, 2017
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

He’s called a “social justice comedian.”

And he travels the country talking about snap judgments, bullying and identity crises.

Sam Killermann will give two free presentations this coming week, including a talk laced with storytelling and humor, in the Wood River Valley. Both events are sponsored by The Advocates in collaboration with the College of Southern Idaho.

Killermann will offer a workshop titled “Meeting People Where They Are” from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the Minnie Moore Room at the Community Campus in Hailey. Admission is free, but those who wish to attend are asked to register with CSI at 788-2033.

The workshop will give participants tools for responding to the needs of differing populations and causes in the community. And it will offer strategies and tools for identifying injustices and advocating for justice.

“Sam takes an unorthodox approach to social justice, advocacy and non-profit creativity guided by responding to the needs of the populations and causes he is working with,” said Heidi Cook, an education specialist with The Advocates. “Sam will present the principles of why he works this way and explain how it works in both concept and reality.”

Additionally, Killermann will present a free talk titled “Everything is Changing So Fast: Gender in 2017” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Silver Creek room of the Limelight Hotel.

“From bathroom bills to Facebook’s 50-plus gender identity options, gender has been on the tip of our nation’s tongue yet we all have a hard time talking about it,” he said.

That, of course, is his lead-in to clearing up common misconceptions, giving tips for how to talk about gender and why it matters.

Killermann, who owns a master’s degree in college student development from Bowling Green, uses  humor in order to turn people from being—well, jerks—to enlightened beings.

He’s performed the comedy show “It’s Pronounced Metrosexual” at 350-plus colleges and universities around the country. And his “Genderbread Person,” a model for understanding and teaching gender and sexual diversity, has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

He designed an all-gender restroom sign that is featured in the White House and is being implemented on three continents. He is the author of “A Guide to Gender,” sprinkled with humor, and co-creator of TheSafeZoneProject.com, a free online resource. He has three well—received TEDxTalks, and he was interviewed by Katie Couric during the documentary on gender identity she did for National Geographic.

Killermann himself is straight. But he learned at an early age how upset people can get over questions of gender identity when his second-grade classmates roughed him up for “being a girl” when he wore a shirt that once belonged to his older sister.

“People will be much happier and more comfortable with themselves if they’re afforded the opportunity to have conversations and explore who they are. And gender is such an integral part of that,” he told an interviewer for the “Coffee with a Stranger” blog.

“If you can do nothing else, do whatever is in your power to make the people in your life feel complete unashamed of who they are,” he has said on more than one occasion. “The world is getting too small for both an Us and a Them.”

The Advocates have been working to bring Killermann to the community for the past year, said Cook. He will be presenting at Wood River High School and Community School, in addition to the two community events.

“Sam is very approachable and educates in a way that encourages participants to want to learn more,“ Cook said.

 

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