Thursday, January 7, 2010

QNOC Digest 2009.11.29

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.11.29

Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to

1. Kansas State Collegian - K-State hosts national Out and Greek conference
2. Inside Higher Ed - Quick Takes: North Texas Students Reject Same-Sex Homecoming Court
3. The Lantern (Ohio State University) - Gay rights activist portrayed in 'Milk' to speak on campus
4. The Maine Campus - Gay students give thanks for acceptance: Wilde Stein holds annual Thanksgiving feast for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students
5. - Speakers to challenge ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ military policy

1. Kansas State Collegian, November 23, 2009
Kansas State University, 116 Kedzie, Manhattan, KS, 66506
K-State hosts national Out and Greek conference
By Hannah Loftus

The students of K-State took the initiative to bring the Out and Greek National Leadership Conference to Manhattan. K-State was chosen from a list of schools to play host to the second annual conference.
Events at the conference included several workshops, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the greek system, a special recognition reception, a dance night and drag show.
Alpha Chi Omega and Kappa Kappa Gamma both had keynote speakers from the conference come to their houses, including Shane Windmeyer, a national leader in gay and lesbian civil rights and the executive director of Campus Pride. Speaking at the seminars was Terrance Dean, the author of the bestseller “Hiding in Hip Hop: Confessions of a Down Low Brother in the Entertainment Industry.” There was featured entertainment from poet Andrea Gibson.
Jessica Pettitt, national author and educator on the issues of social justice, said the conference is in its second year of operation. The previous year’s conference was at DePaul University in Chicago.
“We had people from as far away as California come to the conference this year,” Pettitt said. “This conference is one of the many programs that Campus Pride puts on. It creates a better environment within the university as well as greek life.”
The conference was sponsored by the Lambda 10 project, an educational initiative of Campus Pride.
“The project works to heighten visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the college fraternity by serving as a clearinghouse for educational resources and educational materials related to sexual orientation and gender identity expression as it pertains to fraternity and sorority experiences,” according to the conference agenda.
Windmeyer said the conference was started because he thought it was the right time and place for it to happen. Different cities put out bids for the conference, he said, and it depends on which students wanted to host the conference as students are very engaged in the process of selection.
Dusty Garner, conference planning committee member and senior in political science, attended the conference last year at DePaul. He said the experience was very powerful and he thought it would be great if it was in Manhattan.
“It is always nice to see different chapters of the greek community come together,” Garner said. “It has been great to have the conference here in town, even though the conference was a little smaller this year, the people who are here have some really fresh ideas to help create lots of change.”
Garner said many of the schools who would have come were facing cutbacks, so they could not send as many students. He said altogether, about 40 people attended the conference this year instead of the 60 people who attended last year’s conference.
He said there was a good cross section of people who attended who have perspective on the different issues. Garner said the impact of the conference would be the motivation to start conversations that are transformative.
Windmeyer said the different workshop sessions included information on social justice, religious issues, gender theory, coming out issues and transgender issues.
“The change that people create today will impact the next generation,” Garner said. “The conversations that we had at the conference were very in depth and personal.”
Garner also said he thought it was unfortunate that representatives from the governing bodies for sororities and fraternities, the IFC, the PHC and the multicultural greek council did not attend the conference.
“We were very appreciative, however, that Scott Jones, the director of Greek Affairs, did attend the conference,” Garner said. “It is important that he is open and supportive, and we really appreciate that.”
Windmeyer said the most important thing for K-State students to remember is: there are gay and lesbian men and women within all sororities and fraternities. He said the only question is whether they feel safe and comfortable enough to be honest and open when coming out to their brothers and sisters. That would be the ultimate test of true brotherhood and sisterhood
Chelsey Fritch, senior in humanities, said K-State is a traditionally conservative and agricultural campus, and by bringing the conference to Manhattan it will involve K-State in the progressive movement.
“Even though not as much of the greek life showed up as we would have liked, we are still sending out a positive message and people will take these things back and implement them to create diversity and tolerance,” Fritch said. “We still had a very successful weekend.”

2. Inside Higher Ed, November 24, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Quick Takes: North Texas Students Reject Same-Sex Homecoming Court

Students at the University of North Texas have voted down -- 58 to 42 percent -- a proposal to allow same-sex couples to run for spots in the homecoming court, The Dallas Morning News reported. Many colleges have had men win election as homecoming queens, women as kings, and transgender students in positions as well. At North Texas, students seeking these honors must run with a partner on a ticket, and that raised the issue to some of whether same-sex couples would be permitted, which will now not be the case.

3. The Lantern (Ohio State University), November 23, 2009
Enarson Hall, 154 W 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Gay rights activist portrayed in 'Milk' to speak on campus
By Lauren Hallow

Cleve Jones, gay rights activist and founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, will come to campus Nov. 30 to speak about AIDS awareness in honor of World Aids Day. Jones was portrayed by Emile Hirsch in the award-winning film “Milk.”
At the lecture, Keeping the Promise with Cleve Jones, Jones will discuss AIDS awareness, how he founded the AIDS Memorial Quilt and what it was like to work with Harvey Milk in San Francisco. The lecture is sponsored by the Ohio Union Activities Board.
“We hope that Cleve will bring an inspirational, memorable and educational story to Ohio State,” lecture chair of OUAB Stephen Humphries said. “At such a large and influential university, we hope that his speech will spark a dialogue here on campus about AIDS Awareness and LGBT issues.”
Jones became involved in gay rights while working in Milk’s office as a student intern in the 1970s, where he remained until 1978 when Milk was assassinated. In 1983, while the world was still attempting to understand the threat of AIDS, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
In 1985, during a memorial service for Milk, Jones came up with the idea to start the AIDS Memorial Quilt. That year, he asked people who were coming to the memorial to make signs with the names of anyone they knew who had died from AIDS. At the end of the service, Jones and the participants taped the signs onto the wall of the San Francisco Federal Building. Jones thought the wall of signs resembled a patchwork quilt, and a little over a year later he started the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Weighing in at more than 54 tons and taking up more than 1.2 million square feet, the quilt has become the world’s largest community art project. The quilt is comprised of panels, each one representing someone who has died from AIDS. Anyone can make a panel for someone they know or who they were connected to who passed away from AIDS. Jones made the first panel of the quilt in honor of Marvin Feldman, a good friend of his that lost his life to AIDS in 1986.
In the early 1990s, Jones himself was diagnosed with AIDS. He began treatment and HIV combination therapy in 1994, and at 55 years old, he is one of the longest surviving people with AIDS.
In 2008, “Milk” was released. The movie, which earned eight Academy Award nominations, is based on Harvey Milk’s life in politics up to his assassination. Jones worked closely with the film as the movie’s historical consultant.
Throughout his life, Jones has traveled around the world, giving lectures on human rights and AIDS awareness. He has met with such notable people as Nelson Mandela, George Bush and Bill Clinton. He has served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Harvard AIDS Institute, the National Board of Governors of Project Inform, and the Board of Directors of the Foundation for AIDS and Immune Research.
The lecture is Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in Independence Hall, room 100. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and students need a valid Buck ID to enter.
Jones could not be reached for comment.

4. The Maine Campus, November 23, 2009
5748 Memorial Union, Orono, ME 04469-5748
Gay students give thanks for acceptance: Wilde Stein holds annual Thanksgiving feast for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students
By Kaitlynn Perreault

Back in 2004, the Wilde Stein group at the University of Maine held the first gay Thanksgiving feast on campus, and its participants have been growing ever since.

Claire Folsom, a member of Wilde Stein in 2004 and a current graduate student, said the event was for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students who felt they could not go home or could not be themselves in front of their own family and who could feel more at home with the Thanksgiving group on campus. Wilde Stein held the event Nov. 19 this year.

“The concern was, at the time, that a lot of our students were not welcomed home or when they went home they couldn’t really be themselves because parents weren’t accepting,” Folsom said.

Folsom said the gay Thanksgiving on campus provides Thanksgiving for anyone not wishing to spend it with his or her family.

“Thanksgiving is hard anyways because it’s the first major time you go home initially as a freshman. The first time you’re home, it’s very tempting to come out to everybody. For a major holiday though, it’s really not the best idea. So we wanted to have an event where people could be themselves and still celebrate the holiday, and maybe get that part out of their system a bit before going home. Just to be accepted,” Folsom said.

Folsom remembers how small the first gay Thanksgiving turned out.

“We had maybe 20 people the first time we did it, and that was a big success. We had about as much food as is on the dessert table, but it was a big success, and it was everything we wanted it to be,” Folsom said. The dessert table at the Thanksgiving event was small and held a few items. “It went from 20 people five years ago to this. I never thought that it would get to be this big.”

One of the most successful gay Thanksgivings was last year, when a little more than 100 people attended. Jill Tremblay, a volunteer for the event, said that while the event last year was tight, its regular following has grown.

“That year it was in the Union, and it was really tight,” Tremblay said. “But even now we definitely have a lot of people bringing friends, and that’s not how it used to be.”

Every person who came to the dinner on Thursday brought food to share. Volunteers helped to carve turkeys and set up dishes of food, while students talked and joked with each other. Tremblay said, for the students, this event gives them a different type of family to be with, rather than the hostile ones they possibly go home to.

“It’s different than being with your family,” Tremblay said. “This is a different kind of family than that is.”

Before they dug into their meals, each person would go around the table to say what they are thankful for in life. Tremblay said a huge aspect students were thankful for was simply to have a place to be accepted.

“Early on we would go around and say what we were thankful for,” Tremblay said. “As a gay person, you might live all the time making decisions about how much you say or how you behave, but then there are places like this where you don’t have to think about that anymore. It feels very nice.”

Tremblay added that while anyone of any sexual orientation is allowed at the Thanksgiving, for gay people it has more meaning because straight people have a harder time understanding what gay people go through.

“It’s really hard for you to understand [if you are straight], because there’s no place where you don’t fit in. You don’t have to find your own community, because there are straight people everywhere. But because sexuality often defines who we are, and it’s such a major part of who we are, it’s nice to be able to feel like that doesn’t matter,” Tremblay said.

Third-year Wilde Stein member Kendra Chindler said the gay Thanksgiving is one of the biggest events the group does all year, and it is really just a good time.

“I think this is the biggest event we do all year. It’s not the biggest, like we put a lot of effort into Pride Week and Coming Out Week, but generally for a single night, this has the most people that come, and it’s the most fun I have all year. I love gay Thanksgiving because everyone that is involved in GLBT services shows up, and there’s good food. So what’s not to love?” Chindler said.

Tremblay said that no matter if people come for the food or the acceptance, it is nice to see more and more people going to the gay Thanksgiving.

“It’s exciting to see the difference in the attitude on campus. It’s just
feeling more and more open, and people are more out and accepting. And we have a lot more allies who aren’t gay, but they are really cool and they come to meetings or they participate in functions like this because they are really good friends and are very comfortable with being involved,” Tremblay said.

Folsom knows the event will continue.

“It means so many different things to so many people,” Folsom said. “It’s a time where you can celebrate a holiday even if you can’t with your own family.”

5., November 25, 2009
13 East 22nd Street, P.O. Box 1988, Kearney, NE 68848
Speakers to challenge ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ military policy

KEARNEY — Should the U.S. military’s controversial policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” regarding sexual orientation be preserved? Or should it be abolished, as President Obama has recently vowed to do?
Two prominent speakers will offer competing perspectives on the issue at a Dec. 3 forum at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
James Bowman, a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which applies Judeo-Christian moral principles to issues of public policy, and Alex Nicholson, founder and executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian service members and veterans, will discuss whether the nearly 17-year-old policy should be maintained or repealed.
The forum will be from 7-8:30 p.m. in Room 142 of Copeland Hall on the UNK campus. It is free.
“This is a hot topic, and we hope that this dialogue will inform people about the policy and its implications so they can make their own decisions,” said Tarik Abdel-Monem of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, one of the event’s sponsors.
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been contentious since its inception in 1993. Openly gay people have been prohibited from serving in the U.S. armed forces by both federal statute and executive order — gay people can serve in the military but cannot be asked about their sexual orientation and will be discharged if they disclose it.
In a speech Oct. 10, Obama told the gay civil-rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign he would end the policy.
Bowman is author of “Honor: A History,” which traces the history of the ideal through the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment up to modern day. He is a contributor to Harper’s, The National Interest, The Public Interest, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Evening Standard of London, Scotland on Sunday, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph of London, American Enterprise, Reason, The Weekly Standard and National Review.
Nicholson is one of the nation’s leaders in the effort to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. A former U.S. Army human intelligence collector, Nicholson was discharged shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, because of the policy.
The event also is sponsored by the American Democracy Project at UNK; the Locke and Key Society at UNK; and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences through the Thomas C. Sorensen Policy Seminar Series.

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