Guest post by PJS student Victoria Kulesza
Sam Killermann is not only a comedian, but a creator of many different outlets that educate about bigotry, identity, and expression. He’s given a Tedx Talk called “Understanding Complexities of Gender”, came up with the one-man comedy show and blog “It’s Pronounced Metrosexual”, founded a non-profit organization called Gamers Against Bigotry (currently on hiatus) and is the author of Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender.
When asked about the beginning of his passion for social justice and activism, Killermann related that, “when I was a kid I struggled with my identity in the ways that a lot of people do…the confusion wasn’t about just the everyday puberty things…but could be pinpointed on my experience with my gender.”
College is where Killermann really began to “click” with his identity. Throughout his time studying a multitude of areas including Law and Society, Russian, German−and finally attaining a master’s from Bowling Green in Student Development, he came to the realization that, “I’m a gendered person and that my gender affects the way that other people interact with me and the ways that I am allowed to interact with other people.”
Sam claims that he uses his degree more than his peers and thus has been traveling the country in order to talk to students and write articles about gender, identity, and oppression. “Conversations involve a lot of young people and I am going to be doing some presentations at high schools, which I don’t usually really get to do, and even some middle schools and which I’m really excited about. And that’s been connecting me with my younger self.”
Killermann thus uses his education and passion for social justice in order to create platforms that make education more accessible to a larger, younger audience. “We need to stop mystifying knowledge with jargon”, he asserts. Through projects such as Gamers Against Bigotry, a non-profit where members from 200 countries (more countries than Xbox Live!) pledged not to use bigoted language to prevent threatening environments, and the Genderbread Illustration that is pictured in his book Sam strives to contribute to the field and foster more awareness of the complexities of identity.
These efforts, similar to many social movements and campaigns, however have not been short of experiencing backlash and criticism. Killerman states that he has received negative responses from both the LGBTQ community and MRAs (otherwise known as Men’s Rights Activists) and describes it as being between a “rock and a hard place”.
“Part of the social justice movement…that I have to come to terms with is that people don’t see me as a person a lot of times but they see me as a public figure and a public figure means that you are open to more criticism.”
Killermann is currently living in Austin, Texas and has current plans to write 3 books; such as a guide to sexuality and revolution as well as a children’s book about social justice. He also plans on creating a sex-comedy show which he will perform in Texas.
Author Bio: Victoria Kulesza is a third year student majoring in International Relations and Spanish. She is also a captain of the MSU Fencing Club and a member of MSU International Relations Organization. She has a passion for social justice that is fostered through the Peace and Justice Studies program and one day hopes to work for the United Nations, a human rights NGO, or the Department of State.