Queer News On Campus to consortium
show details 9/6/10
Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.09.05
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Toledo Blade - Hometown Findlay disappoints gay student following resignation
2. The Nevada Sagebrush - Court ruling won’t change UNR clubs
3. Central Florida Future - UCF Police faces allegations
4. The Ithaca Journal - IC receives high marks from LGBT organization
5. The East Texan (Texas A&M University - Commerce) - Evans removed as dean of Arts and Sciences
6. Philadelphia Gay News - Area college celebrates LGBT milestone
7. The Bridge (Texas A&M International University) - The New Gay Straight Alliance
8. WCF Courier - 'On Higher Ground' Rainbow reception welcomes LGBT students to UNI
9. The Daily Gamecock (University of South Carolina) - Pride festival brings color to campus
10. CU Independent - Opinion: CU students challenge identity and gender dysphoria
1. Toledo Blade, August 31, 2010
541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660
Hometown Findlay disappoints gay student following resignation
By JC Reindl
FINDLAY - Army cadet and Findlay High School graduate Katie Miller dropped a bombshell this month when she announced that she is lesbian and would resign from the U.S. Military Academy because she could no longer conform to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Her resignation letter quickly gained national media attention after it appeared on a Web site of an organization of gay and lesbian West Point alumni.
On Aug. 11, Ms. Miller appeared in uniform for a televised interview on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, telling the host - herself a lesbian - that the emotional, mental, and social toll of hiding her sexual identity had become too great. Two days later, the story hit her hometown newspapers.
As she now prepares for a life outside the military at Yale University, where she is a transfer student, Ms. Miller said that she feels the reaction to her coming out as a lesbian and leaving West Point has been largely positive - with the notable exception of Findlay.
"I was shocked that I didn't receive more support than that from my hometown," Ms. Miller, 20, a 2008 Findlay High School graduate, said in a recent phone interview. "I think the Findlay area has been especially harsh on me - just really wary of what my intentions were."
She continued, "These are the people I spent most of my childhood growing up with … so I was hoping that Findlay would be able to accept me as one of their own and to support me in this. But I ended up getting some of my toughest critics from my hometown, and that personally disturbed me."
The daughter of Lisa Miller and Bob Miller of Findlay, Katie Miller has not returned home since the news broke. Back in high school, Ms. Miller was mostly closeted about her sexuality, with only her mother and some close friends knowing of her secret and that she had a girlfriend.
"I got a phone call about 40 minutes before she was on Rachel Maddow. That's how I found out," her twin brother, Thomas, said last week about a telephone call he got from his mother.
Ms. Miller's sense of a lack of hometown support drew largely from the reader comments to Aug. 13 news stories that appeared on the Web sites of local newspapers.
Opinions were divided on Ms. Miller's decision to out herself and leave West Point.
She had some strong supporters, but many of the anonymous comments were biting.
The negative ones tended to fault Ms. Miller for having even applied to West Point knowing that she would be up against the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality. A few expressed outright disgust for gay people.
Ms. Miller submitted her resignation just days before she would have signed a commitment to finish her last two years and serve five years in the Army. Cadets who sign but then drop out can be responsible for paying back the monetary value of their education.
"She knew what the rules were when she accepted the appointment, and now to stick the government with the tab for the first two years of college is just wrong," wrote one commenter under the name "J."
Yet Ms. Miller is hardly alone in exiting West Point after two years. Of the approximately 1,300 cadets admitted to the academy each year, about 20 percent leave before graduation, most voluntarily, said Lt. Col. Brian Tribus, director of public affairs and communications.
Mr. Tribus said he knew of no other cadet who has cited "don't ask, don't tell" as a reason for dropping out.
In sidewalk interviews last week in downtown Findlay, several residents said they hadn't followed Ms. Miller's story but are supportive of her. Most agreed that their city is more socially conservative than Ohio's urban centers.
"I know the Bible does speak against homosexuality, but it doesn't speak against the person," resident Melissa Gertz, 44, said. "I don't believe you throw people out when something happens. You embrace them."
Lifelong Findlay resident Bill Frack, 75, who served in the Army in the mid-1950s, said he read about Ms. Miller's decision in the newspaper and wasn't bothered by it as some online commenters were.
"She apparently is very bright. I feel bad [she is leaving West Point] because she is obviously a good cadet. I'm sure she will do well at Yale," Mr. Frack said.
Ms. Miller said she has always wanted to have a positive impact on her hometown. "Hopefully I have inspired at least the people there that knew me before this and don't think that I'm a total crook," she said.
By all accounts, Ms. Miller was well known in Findlay for her academic and athletic success, and as one of the few female students who chose to attend a military academy. About 15 percent of West Point's cadets are female.
"She was a wonderful student, talented athlete, involved in a lot of different sports but predominantly softball," said Craig Kupferberg, the principal of Findlay High School during Ms. Miller's years and now the district's assistant superintendent.
"In reading the article in the Courier, I think the silver lining for me was her high academic achievement. She was very successful at Findlay High School, but she seemed even more successful at West Point," he said.
Ms. Miller was ranked 17th in her West Point class of more than 1,000. She said she maintained a 3.8 GPA and would regularly "super max" the Army Physical Fitness Test of push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run.
She was initially on track to major in chemical engineering her first year, but said she settled on sociology because she wanted to study and write about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The policy, adopted in 1993, bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this year that they supported a repeal. In May, the House of Representatives approved an amendment that could end the policy.
Among those voting no was U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana), who had nominated Ms. Miller for the academy two years ago.
At 16 Ms. Miller became enthralled with West Point after receiving a school brochure in the mail. She considered other service academies but stuck with West Point because "they were the hardest academically, physically, and militarily compared to the other schools."
She wasn't the first of her family to go into the military. Her father is a master sergeant in the Army who has done two tours in Iraq, she said.
Even in high school, West Point was a reason for Ms. Miller to conceal her true sexuality, "not necessarily because I wanted to be [closeted] but because I knew the profession I was entering."
Ms. Miller said she entered the academy believing that she could keep her sexual identity a secret because she wanted so badly to be there. But midway through her second year, she realized that she could no longer ignore her self-discovery.
"You can't reverse personal progress and the self-awareness that you gain," she said.
Early this year she submitted transfer applications to several colleges, and wrote her essays about her personal struggle with "don't ask, don't tell." She eventually chose Yale's offer over one from Stanford.
Although Yale carries a reputation for being the "Gay Ivy" of the Ivy League, Ms. Miller said she chose the school as much for the prominence of its graduates as its accepting campus culture.
Ms. Miller said she hopes to apply to transfer back to West Point if "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed. Until then, she intends to be politically active at Yale to help end the policy.
Her twin brother, who lives in Findlay, said most people he knows have been supportive of his sister since the news broke, especially the younger generations.
"No matter what her sexual orientation is, she's still my sister and I still love her," he said.
Contact JC Reindl at:
2. The Nevada Sagebrush, August 31, 2010
Mailstop 058, Reno, NV 89557
Court ruling won’t change UNR clubs
By Don Weinland
While gays and lesbians are welcome to join campus faith-based organizations, many group representatives say leadership participation is less open.
A June 28 Supreme Court ruling granted the University of California, Hastings College of Law the right to enforce anti-bias rules for university organizations. The ruling requires campus-funded organizations to adhere to university anti-bias rules, which could bar membership discrimination based on sexual orientation.
University of Nevada, Reno campus organizations do not have a history of discriminatory policy — on the contrary, they operate with a tradition of openness, Lee Rowland, northern coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said.
Rowland said the ACLU supports the Supreme Court ruling as a means of discouraging discrimination on campuses.
“While groups have a right to organize and have discriminatory policy, they are not entitled to the resources of the state to engage in discrimination,” Rowland said.
Many UNR faith-based organizations said their activities are open to people of all walks of life.
Intervarsity area director Sarah Burke said her Christian organization’s activities are open to and encourage attendance from anyone interested.
“If you come to events, if you come to Bible study, you can be a member,” she said. “If people call themselves a member, then they are a member.”
Ryan Cleveland, Campus Crusade for Christ mission team leader, said his organization’s message to students is very much the same. He said Campus Crusade for Christ does not exclude anyone from participation.
Kowsar Khan, president of UNR’s Muslim Student Association, said gays and lesbians in the Muslim community are a rarity. He said homosexuality isn’t an issue to his association as long as it’s kept private.
“I don’t know any gay or lesbian Muslims. If there were a gay member in our group, I don’t think he would be telling people about it. It would be top secret,” Khan said. “Keep that at your personal space. This group is about knowledge and living a righteous life. We don’t care what you do in your personal time.”
For many UNR faith-based organizations, one of the Hastings College of Law’s anti-bias rules appear problematic. According to the college’s rules, “Hastings requires that registered student organizations allow any student to…seek leadership positions in the organization, regardless of [her] status or belief.”
Cleveland said leaders in Campus Crusade for Christ must sign a statement of faith. He said homosexuality runs counter to teachings in the bible.
“To be a leader, you would have to prescribe to that statement of faith,” he said. “Why would someone who does not believe what we believe want to be a leader or an officer in our group?”
Cleveland said his group has in no way singled out the issue of homosexuality. He said it is one issue among a long list of issues that does not conform to the teachings of the bible.
“If you’re having sex with your girlfriend who you’re not married to, you couldn’t be a leader,” Cleveland said. “If you just robbed a 7-Eleven, you couldn’t be a leader.”
Burke said homosexuality, along with many other lifestyles, conflicts with the doctrinal basis signed by all Intervarsity leaders. She said the question exceeds the scope of faith-based organizations and that most campus organizations want a say in who leads the group.
“If you were to ask any non-religious club on campus, they would want control over their leadership,” she said.
The Hastings College of Law and the University of Nevada, Reno are two very different institutions, Burke said. She said the resources available to student for starting clubs are vast at UNR. She said she doesn’t see the Supreme Court ruling becoming an issue on campus.
“The vast array of students UNR attracts is very different from Hastings College. Hastings College is a small law school,” Burke said. “The thing with UNR is it’s easy to start a club here. If you don’t like what’s going on, find your friends and start a club.”
Rev. Vince Fallon, pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom at UNR, said, although sexual orientation is an issue within the Roman Catholic Church, it is a non-issue in his church in regards to membership and leadership.
“In our community, whether they are gay or straight, they are welcome here,” Fallon said. “Sexual orientation does not exclude them from being involved in the ministry.”
Although the University Catholic Community is a campus club, it does not receive campus funding, and is therefore not subject to campus club rules.
Don Weinland can be reached at email@example.com.
3. Central Florida Future, September 1, 2010
11825 High Tech Ave. Ste. 100, Orlando, FL 32817
UCF Police faces allegations
By Katie Kustura
Drug user. Crack head. Liar.
Those are just some of the words that Dr. Jennifer Lisa Vest, a philosophy professor at UCF, alleges that four white UCF police officers called her when they pulled her over on Aug. 9.
When contacted on Aug. 28, UCF’s Public Information Officer Sergeant Troy Williamson said the police department is not permitted to comment, nor is the police report being released as there is an internal investigation going on.
In addition to the internal investigation, the NAACP and the ACLU are also reviewing the alleged racial profiling incident.
“Today I filed a grievance through the [university’s Faculty Union] against the University for discrimination (on the basis of race, gender, sexuality and disability),” wrote Vest in an e-mail to her colleagues and students.
According to the traffic citation that was issued to Vest, 316.221 taillamps, she was pulled over for a broken taillight.
Vest also wrote that after she filed a complaint against the police that they continued to harass her by calling her house incessantly until Assistant Provost Michael Johnson got them to stop.
According to a letter from UCF’s Chief of Police Richard Beary written to Chief Val Demings of the OrlandoPolice Department, Vest filed a complaint alleging that she was “improperly stopped, unlawfully searched and subjected to abusive language and unprofessional behavior by members of the University of Central Florida Police Department.”
Beary asked that the Orlando PD’s Office of Professional Standards conduct the investigation “due to the seriousness of the allegations and to ensure impartiality.”
Vest, who said she notified police of her heart condition early on, claims they didn’t allow her to use her nitrospray when she began experiencing chest pains.
Also in the e-mail, Vest requests that “these officers be disciplined, that they issue a public apology to me, that the citation they gave me for a bad taillight (without ever issuing a warning first) be removed from my record and that some re-training of these officers take place on the topics of: professionalism, civil rights, and liberties, and disability/medical, race and gender issues.”
As news of the incident continues to sweep through campus and the Central Florida community, students and other members of the UCF community are speaking out about the alleged injustice.
Senior philosophy major Nicole Gumbs heard about the incident about a week and a half before school started and said she took the incident very personally because she was supposed to study under Vest this semester.
“At first, I was outraged for personal reasons because I feel as though Dr. Vest is a surrogate mother to a lot of her students and a lot of us admire her in different ways,” said Gumbs. “She relates to a very small population here at UCF because she is such a minority and she has so many of the minority boxes checked.”
According to mixedheritagecenter.org, Vest is a “mixedblood gay poet born and raised in Chicago.”
“She’s not the poster child for this,” said senior creative writing major Isis Miller. “This has happened to so many other people, but we are glad that it is someone of prominence so people are actually paying attention.”
Michael Freeman, the assistant director of diversity education and student engagement in the Office of Diversity Initiatives, said he hopes this incident will serve as a wake-up call and facilitate conversations about what campus feels like to everyone, including faculty and staff.
“When we have something happen on this campus, we have someone who steps forward and makes a statement,” said Freeman. “We have contingency plans. We have emergency plans. We need to, as a campus, give these kinds of incidents and the emergencies around humanness the same level of respect and the same priority.”
Freeman, who serves as an adviser to Equal (a registered student organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture community), student members of Equal and other UCF students will have a demonstration on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise awareness of the issue.
“It’s not just us yelling,” Miller said of the scheduled demonstration. “I love this school, but part of loving something is critiquing it. It’s criticizing it, finding what’s wrong and changing it to make it better.”
Gumbs said she thinks it’s reasonable to request that the force receive diversity training on a regular basis, and while Vest has requested that the cops be disciplined, among other things, Miller would like to see something a little more serious.
“I want them terminated,” she said. “I don’t want a slap on the wrist. I want them gone.”
4. The Ithaca Journal, September 1, 2010
123 W.State St., Ithaca, NY 14850
IC receives high marks from LGBT organization
By Liz Lawyer
Adding offerings for students interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered issues has resulted in accolades for Ithaca College.
This year, the college got the highest marks possible -- five stars -- from the Campus Pride Climate Index. Campus Pride is a nonprofit organization that works to create a safer environment for LGBT college students. Only 19 campuses were considered five-star schools by Campus Pride.
"We're delighted to receive this highest rating," said Lis Maurer, LGBT education, outreach and services program director. "It reflects the work of many on campus."
The college has long supported LGBT issues, she said.
The factor that bumped Ithaca College up to the top of the rankings was a student-led initiative to create a residential community focused on LGBT issues. The LGBT residential learning community, called House of Roy, opens for the first time this fall with about 18 students, said group founder Cat Kirchhoff. Students in any class and major can participate.
"A lot of other schools have options for LGBT housing or things of that nature," said Kirchhoff, a senior. "It seemed about time we should have something on campus."
Maurer emphasized that the communities are different from student organizations because they have academic goals, guided by a faculty adviser.
"It's a way to bring academic issues and residential life issues together," she said, "so students who chose to can learn and explore their interests" with those who share them. The students in the new residential learning community want to learn about LGBT history and culture, and connect to the larger community in Ithaca, she said.
Campus Pride Executive Director and creator of the climate index Shane Windmeyer said, "The rising number of campuses across the nation willing to stand up and speak out for their LGBT students is a testament to the growing recognition that educational environments should be safe and inclusive of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Other institutions earning the five-star rating include Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Vermont, Carleton College, Oberlin College and the University of California at Berkeley.
5. The East Texan (Texas A&M University – Commerce), September 1, 2010
P.O. Box 4011, Commerce, TX 75428
Evans removed as dean of Arts and Sciences
By James Bright
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Christine Evans was removed from her office this summer and offered a position as a professor in the agriculture department.
Professor in the Literature and Language department Dr. Sal Attardo will hold the position while a national search is conducted to fill it, Provost Larry Lemanski said.
Evans said although there was obvious planning involved in her removal, she had no part in it.
“From my side this was entirely a surprise,” she said.
Questions as to whether Evans’ sexual orientation played a role in her dismissal were raised, but Evans said she does not think it was a factor in her removal.
“I am openly lesbian, and have made no attempt to either trumpet or hide that orientation,” she said. “I’m quite certain that most people on campus and in Commerce who have interacted with me to any extent are aware of that. I can also add that I have had no direct experience of mistreatment or different treatment related to the issue.”
Even if her orientation was the reason for her removal, Evans said it would have been legally irrelevant.
“I don’t believe that Texas or the A&M University system include sexual orientation on their list of characteristics with specific civil rights protection,” she said.
Public Education Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas Dottie Griffith confirmed there is no state law prohibiting discrimination against gay Americans. She said the Employment Discrimination Act of 2009 was introduced in congress as a federal protection for homosexuals in the work place, but has not been passed.
Calls to the A&M University system’s human resources department were not returned as of press time.
“My personal opinion is that my sexual orientation was probably not the reason for my dismissal,” she said. “Further, although it hasn’t been shared with me, I would be very disappointed if I were to learn that my career status had been so abruptly altered by something so insubstantial.”
Lemanski said Evans’ transition from dean to faculty member is a personnel matter and is being handled by human resources. Evans said Lemanski cited wanting to move the college in a new direction as one of the reasons for her removal.
“The College of Arts and Sciences follows the university’s mission to continually pursue new and innovative ways to provide students with a quality education,” Lemanski said.
Several programs were listed by Lemanski in an e-mail, which represent the progress on the college. Some of these were the addition of a nursing program by fall of 2011, a construction engineering program and a master’s program in criminology and political science.
Evans said she is looking forward to joining the agriculture department as a professor.
“It will be refreshing to have a supervisor I respect and colleagues I can trust,” she said.
Despite her removal Evans said she tends to be an optimist and is looking forward to continuing her work.
6. Philadelphia Gay News, September 2, 2010
505 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 19147
Area college celebrates LGBT milestone
By Jen Colletta
Just two years after the American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness, a group of gay students at West Chester University petitioned the state for funding for a new organization to represent its interests, a request that was granted.
Now, 35 years later, the LGBT student organization at the university is still going strong, and preparing to pay homage to its myriad members, who’ve helped advance the mission of the group and the university’s acceptance of the community.
The West Chester University LGBTQA will hold its 35th-anniversary celebration from 7-11 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Holiday Inn at High Street and Route 202 in West Chester.
Dr. Jacqueline Hodes, advisor to the LGBTQA and coordinator of the university’s Office of LGBTQA Services, said more than 100 alumni are expected to converge in West Chester for the event, held in conjunction with the school’s Homecoming Weekend.
After the university’s alumni magazine published an article about the 30th anniversary of the student group five years ago, past graduates and members began reconnecting with the group and many became regular donors. Hodes said that while the anniversary event is meant as a way for alumni to reflect and reminisce on the rich history of the group, it’s also a unique opportunity to raise funds to propel the organization forward.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to bring people back together and create some goodwill, but also to see who would be willing to help us out in the future,” Hodes said. “We’d love to be able to fund a full-time person [to staff the Office of LGBTQA Services] and to put together scholarship dollars for students and also programmatic monies, so we think this will really help.”
While the West Chester group, which has utilized an array of names throughout its existence — such as the Gay/Straight Alliance, Gay and Lesbian Student Union and Safe Space Alliance — was founded around the same time as LGBT organizations at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, it was the first in the state to receive state funding.
“A lot of these groups formed at the same time to reinforce each other and network and get a grip on what we were doing, but West Chester was the one that was bold enough to say, OK, if we’re really as good as other groups, then we should get the same funding everyone else gets,” said former member Mike Robinson.
Robinson, who attended West Chester from 1984-98 on a part-time basis for his bachelor’s degree in business administration, was involved with the group throughout his entire tenure with the school, serving as both president and vice president.
He said the organization proved to be a vital resource for LGBT students looking for information on the HIV/AIDS crisis and various LGBT-rights issues.
Although he noted that many students were initially hesitant to take on an active role because they were still in the closet, he was able to witness the development of the group in tandem with the burgeoning overall LGBT community.
“In the ’80s, it was a real oppressive atmosphere from the outside. At that time, the country was at the height of homophobia and antigay sentiment, based on the AIDS crisis,” Robinson said. “But things began to change in the early ’90s, when Clinton was elected and there was this renewed sense of hope.”
As the organization matured, it also became more inclusive of the wider LGBT community.
“As we went along, it became less just about being for lesbians and gays, but more inclusive of the bisexual community and, later, the transgender community,” Robinson said. “It was a step-by-step process.”
In 1994, the school established its Office of LGBTQA Services, which now operates a library, an ally-training program and outreach and awareness-building events, and provides resources and support to the student organization.
Hodes said she’s seen a remarkable shift in the group’s visibility just in her own time at the school, adding that members of the original student organization have described the closeted atmosphere of the 1970s.
“The people who formed the first group were literally hiding in a dorm room for meetings,” she said. “When I came here in 1986, I knew only one other person who was out and that happened to be a faculty member. But in the 24 years I’ve been here, the change has been unbelievable, just astronomical.”
The anniversary celebration will feature a silent auction, raffle, music, food and drinks. Tickets are $35, and alumni also have the option to sponsor a current student who wishes to attend.
For more information, visit www.alumniconnections.com/westchester/ and follow the Events tab or contact Hodes at (610) 436-3147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jen Colletta can be reached at email@example.com.
7. The Bridge (Texas A&M International University), September 3, 2010
5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041
The New Gay Straight Alliance
By Mariela Rodriguez
The Texas A&M International University’s Gay Straight Alliance kicked off the 2010-2011 school year at the Student Organizational Fair on Sept. 1, 2010. The event featured students interested in addressing issues pertaining to gender identity, sexual orientation, and promoting tolerance among the members of the TAMIU community. Members of the organization set up an informational booth, which provided students with a visual of the issues the group wishes to address throughout the school year. Organizations such these intended to promote diversity among students, while highlighting the various interests of the TAMIU student body.
The members of the organization itself are in the process of establishing a long lasting identity for the group on campus. When asked about the organization’s goal for the 2010-2011 school year Gabriel Sanchez, president of the GSA, stated, “Right now our goal is to expand, to make our presence felt, and to participate in as many events as possible, as well as lay the foundation for next year’s GSA.”
TAMIU’s GSA wishes to participate in events throughout the community, as well as create their own. Among the events planned is a movie night, which will depict a film addressing issues within the gay community. The Gay Straight Alliance will also participate in the National Day of Silence held April 16. The Day of Silence requires individuals to take a vow of silence in order to illustrate the silencing effect that bullying and harassment has on LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) students.
As opposed to previous years, the organization’s direction has shifted. The purpose of the organization according to Sanchez is “to create a forum where gay people, straight people, and the rest of the LGBT community can speak up and be themselves.” The president of GSA further stated, “We would like to create a better community for everyone here on campus and hopefully around Laredo.”
For further information on The National Day of Silence visit http://www.dayofsilence.org or contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/TAMIUGSA.
(Mariela Rodriguez may be reached at email@example.com)
8. WCF Courier, September 3, 2010
P.O. Box 540, 501 Commercial Street, Waterloo, Iowa 50704
'On Higher Ground' Rainbow reception welcomes LGBT students to UNI
By Mary Stegmeir
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- Gay and lesbian students looked forward to last year's Pride Week at the University of Northern Iowa with excitement.
The one-year anniversary of the state's Supreme Court decision extending marriage rights to same-sex individuals was part of the celebration, drawing scores of campus and community members to a rally outside Maucker Union.
But the week also included a reminder of the discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students continue to face when a school staff member purposely erased chalk markings detailing Pride Week activities. A series of events, titled "Standing on Higher Ground: LGBT Dialogue & Reflection around Civility" is planned this fall to make sure it never happens again.
"This is going to be a great addition to the university and I think the discussions that will follow and all the things that arise from this will make this a much better campus, a more open campus, a more welcoming campus," UNI president Ben Allen told a crowd of 100 during a Rainbow Reception welcoming gay students and their friends back to campus Wednesday.
Featured "Higher Ground" activities include a lecture by Judy Shepard, whose 21-year-old son, Matthew, was murdered in 1998 because of his sexuality. Also planned is a performance of "The Laramie Project," a play about that brutal slaying and how it forever changed those touched by the tragedy.
"We saw some events happening on campus --- we saw some disrespect, we saw some hate-motivated activities --- and we wanted to see what we could do with the arts to address that within our community," said Steve Carignan, executive director of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. "Matthew's death happened in a small town about the size of Cedar Falls, (in) an agricultural state. We're going to take a look at that, and, I think, learn a little bit about ourselves."
Several "Higher Ground" events, which also include panel discussions, movie screenings and workshops, are open to the public. Ellie Hail, president of UNI Proud, the university's gay-straight alliance, hopes to see a large number of both campus and community members at the activities.
"The climate is always improving, which is a good thing for us, and I think having these events at the Gallagher-Bluedorn will just open up more discussion," said the junior. "A lot of people that go to UNI don't know a whole lot about the LGBT community and this is an easy way for them to take their first step to getting to know what LGBT means."
9. The Daily Gamecock (University of South Carolina), September 3, 2010
1400 Greene St., Columbia, SC 29208
Pride festival brings color to campus
By Jocelyn Henline
As you drove through town this week, you may have noticed a color scheme that you are not used to seeing decorating the streets of Columbia: rainbow.
For the first time ever, rainbow flags dangle from the lamp posts on the streets of Main and Gervais, delineating the route that the SC Pride Parade will follow as it makes its way to Finlay Park Saturday.
The South Carolina Pride Movement is a non-profit organization with a mission to “Support, Celebrate, Educate and Advocate the LGBT community” in South Carolina, and these flags are a mark of its growing influence and success across the state.
SC Pride President Tamera Tedder is encouraged by the community’s continuing acceptance as the organization increased its advertising and visibility this year.
“We have received no opposition. We haven’t had anyone say no, they wouldn’t put the banners up, so we’ve been real pleased,” Tedder said. “In our first march down Main Street, a lot of the participants had to wear masks to hide their identity.”
Now the SC Pride Organization receives widespread support from the community.
“We are making progress here in Columbia and in South Carolina,” she said. “People are moving forward.”
Students can also show support and cheer on their fellow Gamecocks, as the USC BGLSA is building a float for the parade, and members will be marching along with their creation on parade day.
The parade will begin at noon at the intersection of Assembly and Laurel streets and will arrive at Finlay Park at approximately 1 p.m. Pandora Boxx, the star of RuPaul’s Drag Race on LOGOTV, will act as Celebrity Grand Marshal of the parade, which will be broadcast live on WXRY 99.3 FM with commentary starting at 11 a.m.
The parade, however, is only the kickoff for SC Pride Day, a day of events aimed to celebrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of South Carolina. The parade will be followed by the SC Pride 2010 Festival and the Official After-Pride Block Party.
The Festival will be headlined by entertainers, including Taylor Dayne, Cris Williams, Janice Robinson and Danielle Howle. Live entertainment will begin in Finlay Park immediately following the parade.
The Official After-Pride Block Party will be held at PT’s 1109 at 1109 Assembly St. Doors open at 6 p.m.
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