September 30, 2008

SIUC to celebrate GLBT History Month in October

by Christi Mathis

robyn ochs

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- What does Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender History Month mean to Southern Illinois University Carbondale and its students, faculty and staff? There are many answers to that question.

“Fifty years ago, people didn’t know much about the GLBT community,” notes Sabrina Martin, a junior English major from Bradley, “Now it’s out there and it’s important to be aware of and to embrace the differences of our fellow Americans.”

“Learning about diverse perspectives and the issues make us into well-rounded individuals,” said Joseph McGibboney, coordinator for the Student Programming Office.

“It opens one’s eyes to different people and backgrounds and enhances our knowledge, understanding and respect for the individual uniqueness that each person brings to the world,” said Nikki Williamson, a senior from Springfield majoring in psychology.

“It is a chance to learn something new and isn’t that the reason we are here?” said Amanda Phillips, coordinator of Student Development-Leadership and Involvement Programs.

Indeed, the month is a celebration of people at SIUC -- their similarities and their differences. It’s also a celebration of progress made and hopes for future fulfillment.

“It broadens horizons and gets you involved in something in which you may not usually get involved, allowing you to see another group’s perspective,” said Tiffany Newman, a graduate student in behavioral analysis/therapy from Algonquin.

SIUC celebrates GLBT History Month in October with a wide variety of special activities. Participants can enjoy films, discussions, parade participation, comedy and much more. Robyn Ochs, a long-time activist, teacher, writer, workshop leader and speaker, will deliver the keynote speech on Oct. 22. Ochs is well-known for her editing and writing, particularly about bisexuality, the GLBT history and politics in the United States.

The schedule of events for Gay/Lesbian/Bi-sexual/Transgender (GLBT) History Month 2008, all free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, includes:

Wednesdays, Oct. 1-29

• 6 p.m. -- Saluki Rainbow Network weekly meeting, Troy/Corinth Room on the first floor of the Student Center. This student-run activist group and social network plans and coordinates activities and workshops and works to assure rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people and their allies. Everyone is welcome at the meetings.

Wednesday, Oct. 1-Friday, Oct. 24

• Whenever the Trueblood, Lentz and University Hall dining facilities are open, Expression Walls will feature anonymous, honest, uncensored writings from the GLBT community at SIUC.

Thursday, Oct. 2

• 5 p.m.- Safe Zone -- Ally Training, Mississippi Room on the second floor of the Student Center. Safe Zone is an SIUC program identifying faculty, staff and students offering support and resources for GLBTQ students, faculty and staff. Serving as a GLBTQ ally requires a commitment to social justice and understanding of the importance of campus diversity as the allies help assure an inclusive and affirming campus. After completing the workshop, participants can become Safe Zone members. The workshop and group membership are free. For more information look online at or contact Virginia Dicken at

Friday, Oct. 3

• Noon -- Lavender Lattes, Illinois Room, second floor Student Center. Enjoy coffee and find out about the latest LGBTQ research at SIUC.

• 6 p.m. -- “Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World,” film showing, Missouri Room, second floor of Student Center. Documentary illustrating the reality of “coming out” in a developing country, with narration by Janeane Garofalo.

Tuesday, Oct. 7

• 7 p.m. -- “Everything You Want to Know But Were Afraid to Ask: Defining and Understanding GLBTQQIA,” Mississippi Room, second floor of the Student Center. A U-Card event, it features a panel of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender queer, intersex, transsexual, questioning and ally individuals discussing their own sexual and gender identities and answering audience questions. Stacia Creek is host and the panel includes Caleb Porter, Laura Sullivan, Andrea Krueger, Maggie Lacheta and Derrick Williams.

Thursday, Oct. 9

• 7 p.m. -- “Progressive Partnerships: The Real Rainbow Coalition,” Student Health Center. The Progressive Masculinities Mentors will tell of their “Take 10” campaign, including 10 steps men can take to reduce violence and become better citizens, and they’ll explore how men can be supportive allies in the struggle against homophobia. They’ll look at the politics of gay rights and various other topics of interest and the goal of the evening is to create a dialogue about the problem of homophobia and look at ways all men can be allies in the battle.

Friday, Oct. 10

• All day -- Shirts and Sharpies, all over campus throughout the day, GLBTQ people will be wearing plain white T-shirts saying just “I’m out” or “Ally” and others can show their support by adding on written words of encouragement.

• Noon -- Lavender Lattes, Student Center Illinois Room, coffee and discussion of LGBTQ-related research at SIUC.

• 6 p.m. -- “For the Bible Tells Me So,” film, Kaskaskia Room, second floor of Student Center. A U-Card event. The documentary addresses in contemporary times the age-old conflict between Christian fundamentalists and the gay/lesbian community. It looks at a number of families, including those of former presidential candidate Dick Gephardt who has a lesbian daughter; Gene Robinson, a gay man who became a New Hampshire Episcopal Church bishop in 2004; and a gay teen and family. An analysis by clerics and scholars of the Biblical perspective as well as personal stories, tales and tragedies are incorporated.

Saturday, Oct. 11

• 8 a.m. -- GLBT participants meet for the SIUC Homecoming Parade that begins at 9:30 a.m. It’s National Coming-Out Day, in commemoration of the Oct. 11, 1987, march by 500,000 people on Washington D.C., on behalf of gay and lesbian equality.

• 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. -- GLBT Resource Center homecoming tailgate on Saluki Row. Enjoy free food and a slushy and the first 500 guests will get commemorative cups of the second annual tailgate.

Monday, Oct. 13

• 6 p.m. -- “Latino Beginning,” Missouri Room on the second floor of the Student Center. The Norman Green documentary digs into what it’s like to be a minority within a minority, a gay Latino in America. It’s the thoughts and experiences of Marisol, a woman thinking of coming out to her mother; Gustavo, a drag performer; and Jesse, a gay college student. A U-Card event.

Wednesday, Oct. 15

• 7 p.m. -- Candlelight vigil, free forum area. An evening honoring those who have suffered loss due to violence stemming from a person’s gender or sexuality.

Thursday, Oct. 16

• 7 p.m. -- “Marriage and the Fight for Gay Equality: A History,” Saline Room, second floor Student Center. Discussion and lecture about the fight by gay and lesbian people for the right to marry.

Friday, Oct. 17

• Noon -- Lavender Lattes, Illinois room, coffee and details about SIUC LGBTQ-related research.

• 8 p.m. -- Kimberly Dark in the Marion Kleinau Theater. The performance features a sample of her poetry, fiction and personal narrative from a queer and feminist perspective in the overall body of cultural diversity.

Monday, Oct. 20

• 6 p.m. -- “But I’m a Cheerleader,” Missouri Room, second floor of Student Center. This film satire tells a tale of a “normal” teenage cheerleader, suspected by friends and family of being gay, who is sent to a camp created to keep gays closeted. There she meets someone who instead helps her recognize her sexual orientation. A discussion follows. A U-Card event.

Wednesday, Oct. 22

• 8 p.m. -- Robyn Ochs, the keynote speaker for the month, speaks on “Crossing Lines: Identity and the Sexuality Spectrum,” Lawson Hall Room 141. Known for her editing of the “Bisexual Resource Guide,” the anthology “ Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World” and the quarterly “Bi Women” she’s taught around the United States on numerous topics. Her writings and teachings cover GLBT history, politics in America, and experiences transgressing defining labels.

Thursday, Oct. 23

• 7 p.m. -- Racial and Gay Comedy: The Impact?” Kaskaskia/Missouri Room, second floor of Student Center, featuring clips of comedians referencing race and sexual orientation, with discussion to follow. A U-Card event.

Friday, Oct. 24

• Noon -- Lavender Lattes in Illinois Room.

Monday, Oct. 27

• 11:30 a.m. -- Town Hall Meeting: GLBT Saluki Health, Student Health Center Auditorium. Donna LaBarge of the Wellness Center and Virginia Dicken of the GLBT Resource Center will facilitate a discussion about the health care needs and issues pertaining to the GLBT community and everyone at SIUC.

• 6 p.m. -- “Freeheld,” Missouri Room at Student Center. It’s the story of Detective Lt. Laurel Hester, who spent 25 years in Ocean County, N.J., protecting the rights of victims, putting her life on the line investigating tough cases. After a terminal cancer diagnosis, she fought her final battle for justice on behalf of the woman she loved. A U-Card event.

Tuesday, Oct. 28

• 7:30 p.m. -- “Dog Sees God,” Lawson Hall Room 151. The staged reading of the award-winning New York satire, inspired by the cartoon “Peanuts,” looks at promiscuity, coming-out, therapy and suicide. For mature audiences. A U-Card Event.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

• 5 p.m. -- “Strength in Numbers,” Student Center Auditorium. An interactive discussion about being an advocate and ally and how it benefits all involved within the SIUC community.

GLBT History Month is one of the many initiatives from the SIUC Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services. Also sponsoring the month’s special activities are: Saluki Rainbow Network, GLBT Resource Center, Theater Department, Student Health Center-Wellness, Cinema and Photography, Women’s Studies Department, University Housing, Department of Speech Communications and History Department.

“Attending and participating in GLBT History Month is part of the commitment to excellence provided by SIUC,” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services. “It is a great opportunity to expand and enhance a healthy respect for and appreciation of our many differences and similarities.”

For more information, contact Student Development at 618/453-5714 or look online at