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Thursday, April 2, 2020

LGBTQ+ Western kicks off Spring Quarter with events galore

Illustration by Nicole Swift

By Emily Feek

LGBTQ+ Western is kicking off a variety of upcoming workshops, speakers and events geared toward educating and engaging the community on campus about LGBTQ+ history and culture throughout the quarter.

L.K. Langley, LGBTQ+ Western director, expressed excitement for the opportunities these upcoming events will provide to students, faculty and staff. The events have involved a significant amount of coordination and planning with their other partners on campus, including the Associated Students Disability Outreach Center and Consultation and Sexual Assault Support.

Several events will function as workshops to help students, faculty and staff to understand different aspects of the LGBTQ+ community, starting with their Understanding and Respecting Personal Pronouns workshop on Tuesday, April 23.

“The understanding and respecting personal pronouns workshop is a great one for folks who want to be allies to transgender people,” Langley said.

The event is aimed at faculty, staff and students to discuss the importance of using someone’s  pronouns and how pronoun usage can create respectful and inclusive environments for all gender identities, according to the LGBTQ+ Western webpage. The workshop will be held at 4 p.m. in Viking Union room 462.

Langley acknowledged how the AS Queer Resource Center has partnered with LGBTQ+ Western, and highlighted their work with bringing poet Kay Ulanday Barrett to campus. Barrett hosted a poetry reading on Thursday, April 18 and led an Ableism 101 presentation on Friday, April 19.

“I think Kay’s poetry reading this evening… and the workshop that they’re doing tomorrow are going to be really exciting opportunities for our students,” Langley said. “Kay’s visit to campus has really been organized by the Queer Resource Center and I’m supporting it, but they deserve a lot of credit for the good work that they’re doing to bring Kay here.”

The events will continue until late May and June, according to the LGBTQ+ Western website. LGBTQ+ Western and their partners will present a ‘50 Years Since Stonewall’ event series and an LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration. Both events are open to all students and allow for engagement and learning within the community, Langley said.

“The events related to Stonewall, the pride celebration – whether you’ve been going to pride celebrations since elementary school, or this will be your first one, they’re great community-building opportunities,” Langley said.

Information about the Stonewall anniversary events and LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration will be confirmed and posted to the LGBTQ+ Western website by the end of April, they said.

“It’s a hopefully fun and empowering opportunity for students and faculty and staff to come together and celebrate the diversities of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences in a positive way,” Langley said of the pride celebration.

Langley said collaboration has been a large focus throughout the planning process, and hearing feedback from students was valuable in its process.

“I really welcome student input in that, because it’s a celebration for the entire community, but our community is here to serve and support students,” Langley said.

Langley also encouraged students of all identities to attend the events that LGBTQ+ Western will be hosting this quarter. The events allow allies to engage with their LGBTQ+ peers and learn about their history and politics, they said.

Regardless of someone’s experience with and knowledge of LGBTQ+ matters, the events provide an opportunity for students to expand their experience and knowledge. The events will be a mix of both conventional academic learning and learning through dialogue, according to Langley.

Overall, LGBTQ+ Western seeks to engage the campus community through these events and promote positivity and learning.

“There’s so many different things to take away, but I hope that particularly for our students, that they can see themselves positively reflected and lifted up by some of the people who are coming to campus to speak and perform,” Langley said. “I hope that our students see the different ways in which all sorts of healthy queer and trans lives are possible.”

Here are the events:

  • April 23: Understanding and Respecting Personal Pronouns, 4-5 p.m. in VU462
  • April 26-28: Western Regional Global Health Conference: Criminalization of the Body, Academic Instructional Center West, time to be announced
  • April 30: Navigating Conversations About Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation in the Classroom, 4-5 p.m. in VU 462B
  • May 8: Healthy Queer Relationships, 4-5:30 p.m. in Bond Hall 419
  • May 14-15: Eli Clare, time and location to be announced
  • May 22-23: 50 Years Since Stonewall, time and location to be announced
  • June 5: LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration, 2 p.m. in Flag Plaza and Multi-Activity Court Gym in the Wade King Student Recreation Center
  • June 6: Spending Time with Family as an LGBTQ+ Person, 4-5 p.m. in Bond Hall 103

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