WMU News

Variety of public events slated for LBGT Awareness Days

Feb. 3, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Increasing awareness about lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues is the goal of a series of events scheduled on the Western Michigan University campus from Monday, Feb. 3, through Friday, Feb. 7.

All of the University's "LBGT" Awareness Days events are free and open to the public. They are being sponsored by WMU's Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Student Services office; OUTspoken, an organization of undergraduate students; OUTreach, an organization of graduate students; the Office of Residence Life; and the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

WMU's 2003 celebration, called "Making It Perfectly Queer," is part of the unofficial national observance of LBGT Awareness Week that many colleges and universities take part in during February, says Bonnie M. Benson, coordinator of lesbian, bisexual and gay student services.
"Once a word used against us, 'queer' is now a word we claim for ourselves to express the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community," Benson says.

A highlight of the week will be "The Wall of Gratitude" in the first-floor lobby of the Bernhard Center. Members of the WMU community are invited to post personal tributes on the wall throughout the week.

A variety of other events also have been scheduled.

Monday, Feb. 3, residence halls across campus will be sponsoring events. In addition a "pride" table will be open from in 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bernhard Center's Bronco Mall, where passersby may pick up stickers, buttons as well as information about such upcoming events as the Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Student Services fundraiser on Feb. 15 and the National Day of Silence rally on April 9.

Tuesday, Feb. 4, an LBGT Parenting Panel will discuss their parenting experiences and philosophies at 7 p.m. in Room 211 Bernhard Center.

Wednesday, Feb. 5, members of WMU's undergraduate student group OUTSpoken invite area gay and straight allies as well as LBGT organizations from area high schools and colleges to join them at 8 p.m. in the Wesley Foundation for an informal evening of dialogue and community-building.

Thursday, Feb. 6, the pride table will be back at the Bronco Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Meanwhile, the fourth annual Drag Show will take place at 8 p.m. in Room 2304 Sangren Hall. A $2 donation is suggested to attend the event, which will feature a live DJ and student as well as professional performers.

Friday, Feb. 7, Imani Henry will present "B4T" (Before Testosterone) at 7 p.m. in the Wesley Foundation. A multi-media theatre piece partially funded by the Student Assessment Fee, B4T explores race, sexuality and gender expression through the lives of three masculine female-bodied people. Henry is an award winning actor and poet who regularly performs this piece for sold-out houses in New York; Boston; and Washington, D.C.

For more information about LBGT Awareness Days, contact Bonnie Benson at (269) 387-2123 or <lbg-coordinator@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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