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Kalamazoo slates 'breaking the silence' events

by Jeanne Baron

April 8, 2011 | WMU News

KALAMAZOO--The effects of heterosexism on queer youth will be the focus of a series of events Friday, April 15, at Western Michigan University for the 2011 National Day of Silence.

On the National Day of Silence, hundreds of thousands of people across the country take a vow of silence to bring attention to name-calling, bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in their schools. Locally, the day is being observed by "breaking the silence."

This year's observance, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. April 15, in Room 1301 of Wood Hall. It will revolve around the documentary film "Put This on the {Map}: Re-teaching Gender and Sexuality."

Those planning to attend are invited to gather at 5 p.m. in the lounge on the lower level of Wood Hall to network and enjoy pizza. The film will be shown at 6 p.m. in Room 1301 and be followed by a panel discussion with some of the filmmakers and youths involved in making the documentary. After the discussion, there will be a reception and opportunity for more discussion.

"Re-teaching Gender and Sexuality" is a new documentary from Put This on the Map, a team of youth-led community educators and activists re-teaching gender and sexuality to professionals in such fields as education, social work, health care and juvenile probation.

Its new film features 26 young people in Seattle's eastside suburbs who exercise courage daily. They tell their stories of social isolation, violence, fearlessness and liberation and candidly evaluate their schools, families and communities, moving audiences from self-reflection to action.

April 15's breaking the silence events are being sponsored by WMU's Office of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Student Services, along with the University's Gender and Women's Studies Program, Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, and Kalamazoo College Arcus Center for Social Justice.

For more information, contact Sarah Stangl, coordinator of the Office of LBGT Student Services, at or (269) 387-2123.