F to eMbody Comes To Campus

On Friday, February 11, trans-men hip-hop artists and slam poets Rocco Kayiatos and Harvey Katz hosted a workshop, F to eMbody, for Haverford students. Students were educated on issues of gender-nonconformity, got tips for talking with a gender non-conforming person and learned about transgender-specific terminology.

L to R: Harvey Katz (a/k/a Athens Boys Choir), Rocco Kayiatos (a/k/a Katastrophe)

When the artists, who have both received honors from the Out Music Awards and Logo, handed out a sheet with suggestions for how to be a good ally, I was struck by how their suggestions fit in with Haverford’s tenets of trust, concern and respect. (For example, tips for being a good ally to a trans-person include respecting their gender identity, respecting their privacy and, if you must ask questions, make sure they are respectful and appropriate.) Despite the seriousness of the topic, Kayiatos and Katz (who perform as Katasrophe and Athens Boys Choir, respectively) kept the workshop humorous and entertaining and created a space where students weren’t afraid to ask questions. I, personally, was challenged to think more critically about gender, and Kayiatos and Katz really drove home the point that it is a privilege not to have to think about gender.
After the workshop, the duo hosted a concert in Lunt where I was blown away by their intense, thought-provoking multi-media spoken-word and hop-hop pieces. Watch the video below (featuring Kayiatos) to see for yourself.
– Stephen Handlon’13