September 27, 2007

Variety of activities to mark GLBT History Month

by Christi Mathis


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CARBONDALE, Ill. – Nationally known guest speakers, comedy, special exhibits, a candlelight vigil and more will mark Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) History Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in October.

"GLBT History Month is an opportunity not only for gay people to celebrate our history and successes but for our allies to celebrate with us and for straight people to learn a little bit more about our culture," said Paulette Curkin, coordinator of the GLBT Resource Center. "A lot of homophobia comes from lack of knowledge and awareness. People don't realize they know a gay person. I think acknowledging something like GLBT History Month is a contributor to breaking down stereotypes, overcoming homophobia and putting a face on GLBT people."

"GLBT History Month, like the other cultural celebrations held at SIUC – Latino Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women's History Month and Asian American Heritage Month – is open to all and is an opportunity to become more aware of the individuals within a culture and the contributions of those cultures to the greater whole, which is America," added Carl Ervin, coordinator of SIUC Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services. "It is an opportunity to recognize our similarities, to celebrate our differences, to develop our multicultural competencies and to enhance our educational experience."

All activities are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The schedule of events for GLBT History Month includes:

Oct. 1-Oct. 31

• During dining hall open hours – "Your Voice, My Voice: The Uncensored Truth," free expression boards in the University Housing dining facilities at Trueblood Hall, Lentz Hall and University Hall invite students to share their feelings and comments about the GLBT environment at SIUC. The displays will also feature information about GLBT awareness and the month's activities.

Tuesday, Oct. 2

• 7 p.m. – The Rev. Mel White will be the keynote speaker at the Student Center Ballrooms C and D. A U-Card event. White is the author of "Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America" and he's justice minister for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. White is an award-winning television producer, filmmaker, best-selling author, pastor and seminary professor who has been a ghost writer for evangelical leaders including the late Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham. After battling depression and 35 years spent struggling to "overcome' his homosexual orientation in various ways, he reconciled his Christianity and sexual orientation. In 1997, along with partner Gary Nixon, White received the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award.

Wednesday, Oct. 3

• 7 p.m. – "Racial & Gay Comedy: The Impacts," in the Ohio Room at the Student Center. A U-Card event and joint presentation of GLBT History Month and Latino Heritage Month featuring comedic video clips and analyzing how comedy uses race and sexual orientation. The discussion facilitator is Craig Gingrich-Philbrook, SIUC speech communication associate professor.

Thursday, Oct. 4

• 9 p.m. – Candlelight vigil in the Free Forum area north of McAndrew Stadium in remembrance of Gwen Araujo. That date marks the fifth anniversary of the murder of the California transsexual teen. Her death led to the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act that opposes decreasing a defendant's culpability in a crime due to societal bias against a victim.

Friday, Oct. 5

• 1-4 p.m. – GLBT Resource Center Open House, Room B-260 of Woody Hall. Visit the new resource center, meet the staff and learn about services and assistance available there. Refreshments.

Saturday, Oct. 6

• 10 a.m. – GLBT will participate in the SIUC Homecoming parade, the GLBT community and allies in the Saluki Rainbow Network should be on hand to line up prior to the start of the parade.

• 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – GLBT Resource Center Homecoming Tailgate on Saluki Row at McAndrew Stadium, with commemorative cups for the first 500 guests and kosher "dawgs" and drinks served.

Tuesday, Oct. 9

• 7 p.m. – "Everything You Want to Know But Were Afraid to Ask: Defining and Understanding GLBTQQIA," in the Student Center's Mississippi Room. A U-Card event with a panel hosted by Stacia Creek. Panelists will answer questions and describe their own sexual and gender identities within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, genderqueer, intersex, transsexual, questioning, and allies world. Featured are Margaret Cooper, Andrew Stanton, Jeremy Rodgers, Derand Wright and Andrea Krueger.

Wednesday, Oct. 10

• Noon – A panel discussion in the Student Center Mackinaw Room on a proposed GLBT/Q Studies minor at SIUC. A U-Card event including a panel comprised of faculty, staff and others discussing interest in and the possibility and value of a GLBT/Q Studies minor at the University.

• 7 p.m. – Film showing of "The Aggressives" in the Illinois Room at the Student Center. The joint program with Latino Heritage Month highlights the documentary exploring the secret subculture of New York lesbians living as "aggressives." A discussion will follow the film, a U-Card event.

Thursday, Oct. 11

• All day long – "Shirts and Sharpies" throughout the campus for "National Coming Out Day," SIUC students and allies will wear plain white shirts proclaiming, "I'm Out" or "Ally." By writing words of encouragement on the shirts with markers community members will show support. Organizers are planning an evening event with details coming soon.

• 3 p.m. – Safe Zone Training, Mackinaw Room at the Student Center, a program of SIUC identifying faculty and staff who can provide support and resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning students, faculty and staff. Upon completing the workshop, participants may choose to become a Safe Zone member. The workshop and membership are free.

Monday, Oct. 15

• 4 p.m. – Kylan Mattias de Vries presents "A Visual History of Transgender People" in the Mackinaw Room of the Student Center. The U-Card event is a visual history of real transgender people in today's society.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

• 7 p.m. – "More Similarities than Differences," a workshop by Barry Vesciglio and Christy Hamilton in the auditorium of the Student Health Center. It will explore gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and heterosexual terminology, dispelling myths, challenging homophobia and promoting diversity

Wednesday, Oct. 17

• 7 p.m. – Film, "The Believers," in the Kaskaskia/Missouri Room at the Student Center, a U-Card event. The documentary feature about the world's first transgender gospel choir illustrates the dilemma of reconciling gender identity and religious beliefs.

Thursday, Oct. 18

• 7 p.m. – Dave Pallone, an 18 -year professional baseball umpire including 10 years in the National League, presents, "Who's Really on First?" in Ballrooms C and D of the Student Center. The third-youngest umpire in baseball history, motivational speaker Pallone authored the best-selling autobiography "Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball." Featured on the ESPN documentary "Homophobia in Sports" and other media programs, he offers a revealing look at baseball, sports and life from a gay man's perspective.

Wednesday, Oct. 24

• Noon – "Queer Muslim Subject – An Oxymoron? Re/claiming Nonheteronormative Notions of Muslim Women's Sexualities" in the Mackinaw Room of the Student Center. Naida Zukic, assistant professor in the department of speech communication at SIUC, will speak at the U-Card event, offering a unique perspective on lesbian Muslim women, sexual alikeness and differences as evidenced within autobiographic writing, and how it sets frameworks and affects politics.

• 7 p.m. – Film "Assault on Gay America," in the Illinois Room of the Student Center, a U-Card event. The film explores the roots of homophobia through a murder case and the PBS video questions American attitudes, beliefs and fears and how they have contributed to the rise in violence against gays. A discussion will follow.

Friday, Oct. 26

• 8 p.m. – Community Floss Improv Comedy Night, at Brown Auditorium in Parkinson Laboratory room 124 with local improvisational comedy group "Community Floss" and other SIUC students supplying the laughs. A U-Card event.

Monday, Oct. 29

• 7 p.m. – "Super Queer in the State of the Union" featuring Amber Zimmerman in the Student Center Auditorium. It's a look by a humanitarian at political leadership and education and the effects of the "heteronormative fascist virus."

Sponsors of the 2007 GLBT History Month are: GLBT Resource Center, Saluki Athletics, Saluki Rainbow Network, Triangle Coalition, Department of Cinema and Photography, Department of Sociology, Department of Speech Communication, Student Health Center-Wellness, Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship program committee, Women's Studies, Undergraduate Student Government, University Christian Ministries, University Housing, Office of Diversity and Equity, Latino Heritage Month Committee and Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services.

For more information about GLBT History Month or any of the special activities, contact Curkin at 618/453-6804 or via e-mail at or Ervin at 618/453-5714 or by e-mail at


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Well-Known producer, writer, pastor to speak – The Rev. Mel White will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Student Center Ballrooms C and D at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. White, author of “Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America”, is justice minister of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. He is also an award-winning television producer, filmmaker, best-selling author, pastor, and seminary professor who was a ghost writer for numerous evangelical leaders.

Photo provided


Professional umpire speaks — Dave Pallone, an 18 -year professional umpire with 10 years in the National League, will be one of the guest speakers during GLBT History Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in October. Pallone will present “Who’s Really on First?” in Ballrooms C and D of the Student Center at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.

Photo provided