Pride@Dickinson Fall Events
Students, faculty and staff are out in force celebrating Pride@Dickinson during the month of October. In honor of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) History Month, a plethora of student organizations as well as the Office of Diversity Initiatives (ODI) and the Women's Center are sponsoring events that range from the solemn to the festive—and everywhere in between.
"Much of the thought behind the programming and outreach is from the spring 2009 LGBTQ Climate Assessment," said Paula Lima-Jones, director of ODI, who worked closely with Assistant Professor of Psychology Megan Yost and Assistant Professor of Women's & Gender Studies Stephanie Gilmore on the study. "Pride@Dickinson is an initiative that seeks to foster community among LGBTQ Dickinsonians and their straight allies."
Spectrum, the college's queer-straight student alliance, kicked off the month on Oct. 1 with free hugs on Britton Plaza. The following Monday, Oct. 4, Spectrum held a Stonewall Vigil to remember the 1969 riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, which is often considered the spark that ignited the LGBTQ civil-rights movement. Students also organized a kiss-in on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day, throughout the campus—from the cushies in the HUB to the Waidner-Spahr Library lobby.
According to Gaven Trinidad '12, one of Spectrum's executive board members, the organization also is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Dickinson. "One does not have to identify as LGBTQ to be a member," he said. "Everyone is welcome to our events and meetings."
On Oct. 12, ODI sponsored Out on Britton (Plaza), a lunchtime event that invited students, faculty and staff to share their coming-out stories, view resource materials from area organizations such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) and simply be visible. (Story continues below.)
"I'm incredibly grateful to see the LGBTQ community coming out—pun intended—in full force," said Gilmore. "Visibility is so important, and it is vital for marginalized people to take up space at Dickinson."
On Oct. 13, the Office of Campus Life sponsored a screening of the film 8: The Mormon Proposition, followed by a panel discussion. On Oct. 14, the Multi-Organizational Board hosted When the Gays Move into Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a seriocomic look at homophobia by performers (and partners) Joe Bertolino and Bil Liepold.
"There are many reasons why we should care about these issues. Queer or straight, we have an obligation as human beings to be engaged in each other's lives," said Trinidad, citing the continued high rates of suicide and homelessness among LGBTQ young people and discriminatory laws and practices still in place.
More events are on tap for the remainder of October and into November. The Women's Center is hosting Consciousness to Action: Queer Theory with Professor Laura Grappo on Oct. 26 in Landis House. ODI is sponsoring a brown-bag lunch forum, LGBTQ & Politics: Gay Marriage & Beyond, in the HUB on Oct. 28, which is being coordinated by diversity assistants Alex North '13 and Devin Beaugureau '13.
The Feminist Collective and Spectrum plan to upend gender at their Gender Trouble Party on Nov. 6 in The Depot. Spectrum will return to The Depot with a Moulin Rouge Dance Party on Nov. 12.
Learn more about Pride@Dickinson events.
Text by Michelle Simmons.
Photos by A. Pierce Bounds '71.