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Morgan Davis

Mrs. Thomas
UWRT 1101-101
21 November 2014
This was a harder paper for me to work on because Im still playing with the format of it.
I had about 3 pages written and didnt like the way it was going so I completely started
over. Im not sure if I like the way this one is going either, but Im hoping to get some
input at the group session. Ive also been on the fence about the community, because I
dont really like talking to people about this topic, but I figure its something thats going
to come up eventually so why not right a paper on it.
Spectrum- A Safe Place for Everyone
I chose the organization Spectrum as my discourse community. Spectrum is an
LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, intersex, and ally) organization.
The goal of this organization is to make sure that everyone in the community feels safe.
They also try to promote awareness, advocacy, education, and the culture of issues within
issues of this community to the UNC Charlotte community. I chose this community
because I am currently part of this organization and because I feel like Spectrum is a
good representation of Swales six characteristics. Talk about Swales.
In a way I have been observing this organization all semester, but I had not been
focusing specifically on the six characteristics, but now that it has been brought to my
attention it is always in the back of my mind whenever I go to meetings or do other things
with this group.

Communication is key in this community because there are many touchy subjects
that get discussed in our meetings so it is important for the members to communicate
with each other if they feel uncomfortable with the topic or if they feel disrespected. For
example one of the members is a transgender female, also known as an mtf (male to
female) transgender. She voices her opinion a lot because not many of the people in the
organization are familiar with terms concerning transgender people, so when she feels
that something is unintentionally disrespectful to herself or other trans people she will
speak out about it. We also had an entire meeting where she presented on transgender
people and gave a lot of information and tips for how to address trans people. Some of
these tips were to not ask what their former name was because it could trigger something
negative within, wait for them to volunteer information because you do not know their
comfort level, and if you knew them before their transition to not make a big deal about
messing up their pronouns because that could make them feel uncomfortable.
This organization is largely based on member involvement. Our president is
constantly asking us what we would like to do as an organization or what topics we
would like to hear at our meetings. The last meeting I went to he asked us to be thinking
about what community service we would like to see the organization get into next
semester as well as things we could do to bond within the community and to brings
proposals to the next meeting. This is very important because without our feedback we
would not get involved in new things that we have interests in. It also gives us the
opportunity to express any concerns we have with the direction the organization is going.

I interviewed my roommate Kayleigh, who is also a member of this organization

as an Ally and she brought up some very good points on how people are perceived in this
organization. Interview stuff here.
We all have the same goals as an organization as a whole. The main goal is to
provide a safe environment for everyone who is involved with this community. There is a
low tolerance for negativity and bullying towards others. Another common goal is to
teach people within and outside of the community about important issues within the
LGBTQIA community itself. These issues include homophobia, transphobia, and suicide
and homelessness amongst LGBTQIA teens. I have been part of the LGBT community
for years, but Spectrum has taught me a lot. If I can learn something from this
organization I know others can too.
While we all have a common goal as an organization, there have been a couple of
conflicts at some of the meetings. Sometimes an individual will lose sight of the purpose
of these meetings and make it all about them or one specific area of the LGBT
community, which makes it awkward and uncomfortable for the rest of the members. So I
think thats an issue that needs to be addressed. Another example is that one meeting
turned into a debate about stereotypes within the LGBT community and instead of
making it a learning experience some people tried to one up each other and it just got
really out of hand. Also sometimes the mood can get tense depending on topic and it may
make some people uncomfortable.
One or more genres
Old timers vs. Newbies

Works Cited
Pettyjohn, Kayleigh. Personal interview. 11 Nov. 2014.