‘Coming Out for Liberation’ presentation hosted by GSA


Alexis Flores / Clarion

Author and activist Alex Iantaffi speaks at the Madison College Truax Campus at a Gender and Sexuality Alliance event in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Anica Graney, Managing Editor

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Madison College’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) invited Alex Iantaffi, a champion for gender and sexuality discussions, to talk to Madison College students about gender and sexuality.

This presentation took place on March 9 in D1630 with the “Coming Out for Liberation” presentation for students taking place from 1-2 p.m. and the “Life Isn’t Binary” workshop for staff taking place from 2:30-4 p.m. 

Alex Iantaffi is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author and independent scholar. They are also the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy and currently host the Gender Stories podcast.  

Iantiffi began the “Coming Out for Liberation” presentation by having the audience acknowledge the indigenous lands they are currently on, their ancestors, and the web of life. They used breathing exercises to accompany this time of acknowledgement as well. 

“Gender is a landscape,” said Iantaffi. They used this metaphor to show how gender should be thought about. “If we think of gender as a landscape, we can open our minds to the possibility of other gender identities or expressions that we have not yet seen ourselves.” 

Iantiffi explained that assigned gender and gender expression are different and aren’t just a recent phenomenon that some people use to discredit various gender discussions. “Gender hasn’t always been thought about the way we think about it now.”

Continuing by giving examples of how gender roles don’t always line up with the traditional sense as they do now and were in fact sometimes mixed in different cultures at different times. This is known as gender expansiveness and Iantiffi uses this to show how this “is a part of this land’s past and present.” 

Iantiffi described the differences between sex, gender role, gender identity, and sexual orientation and said that current society has all of these factors separated into two categories: male and female. They go on to say that many people feel a mix of these factors that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional male or female categories. They go on to defend these different expressions: “Just because you haven’t met that gender identity or gender expression, doesn’t mean that gender identity or gender expression isn’t real.” 

So, what does it mean to come out? Iantiffi stresses the importance of coming out and working against oppression. “This is also why straight people don’t need to come out because they are not oppressed in this society.”  

Gender liberation is about inclusion and Iantiffi believes that everyone should be contributing to the dismantling of gender roles in this society. “What would happen if we dismantled gender? Anybody can be anything. That is the vision.”