News and notes from the WGS program @ Fairfield

LGBT History Month

Lavender Ceremony, Thursday May 1

4298370The Lavender Ceremony is a celebration of those on campus who have supported the LGBTQ community in their time on campus and day to day lives. While open to all members of the campus, the ceremony will honor those of the graduating class in particular. If you would like to attend the Lavender Ceremony, Alliance asks that you please choose the proper response below where you will be sent to an appropriate page. The event will take place Thursday, May 1st, in the Great Room of Bellarmine Hall beginning at 4:00 pm and ending by 6:30pm.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1PUKg9T-HPkt-K031OYACG-Gztw-nalVFpEsJsrT3SWY/viewform

 

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glaad reports Facebook introduces custom gender field to allow users to more accurately reflect who they are

From the glaad website - http://www.glaad.org/blog/facebook-introduces-custom-gender-field-allow-users-more-accurately-reflect-who-they-are

Facebook introduces custom gender field to allow users to more accurately reflect who they are

 


Facebook announced today
that it will now offer a custom gender field for transgender and gender nonconforming people. The new feature, which GLAAD helped develop, enables users to select a custom gender option, indicate preferred pronouns and adjust privacy settings for the custom gender field. It will be available to those who use Facebook in U.S. English.

“This new feature is a step forward in recognizing transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their own words,” said GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis. “Once again, Facebook is on the forefront of ensuring that the platform is safe and accessible to all of its LGBT users.”

Previously, Facebook users were required to select either “male” or “female” in the gender identification field. Users now the option to select “Custom.” Once users select custom, they will have the ability to enter up to ten identification terms (e.g., transgender, androgynous, genderqueer, etc.) to better express their gender identities. Users who use the new custom gender options will also have the ability to choose the pronoun they’d like to be referred to publicly and select which groups of their Facebook friends they feel safe sharing their gender field with.

“Facebook users from across the country have been asking for the ability to reflect their gender accurately, and today Facebook showed they have been listening,” said Allison Palmer, GLAAD’s former Vice President of Campaigns & Programs who worked on the project with Facebook and current GLAAD staff. “Facebook’s new gender options will make a difference to many transgender and gender nonconforming users, who are now empowered to accurately describe their own identities on the platform.”

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From the Atlantic: How Sochi Became the Gay Olympics. The Winter Games are serving as a barometer for the international politics of LGBT rights.

 

How Sochi Became the Gay Olympics

The Winter Games are serving as a barometer for the international politics of LGBT rights.

In August 1982, 1,350 athletes from 12 countries gathered in San Francisco for the first-ever Gay Games. The Stonewall riots were more than a decade in the past; a year earlier, reports had surfaced about rare pneumonia and cancer afflicting homosexuals in New York and California—the first glimmers of what would later be called AIDS. Tom Waddell, a gay Olympian who would die of AIDS five years later, told The New York Times that he had organized the athletic competition to “pull the gay community together globally.”

At the time, that gay community found itself in vastly different circumstances around the world. As the activist Greg Day wrote in the program for the inaugural Gay Games, the U.S. had “much to learn from Holland, Norway and France where there are national laws protecting the rights of Gay and Lesbian citizens.” “Direct contact” with athletes from these nations, Day argued, would be enlightening for Americans living in a country where international visitors were often denied entry because of their sexual orientation.

Three decades later, sports are once again stirring us to take stock of gay rights around the world. Controversy over recent restrictions on sexual minorities in Russia—along with threats of terror attacks, concerns about environmental degradation, and protests by the Circassian diaspora—have arguably made the Sochi Winter Olympics the most geopolitically charged Games since the Soviet-boycotted 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Ultimately, the costliest Olympics in history may be remembered for marking a period in which gay rights aren’t so much advancing globally as expanding in certain parts of the world while regressing or languishing in others.

As 6,000 athletes from 85 countries gather in Sochi, the global gay-rights divide will be unmistakable.

“The status of LGBT rights globally is schizophrenic,” Jessica Stern, executive director of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, tells me. “You don’t see a single trend anywhere you look.”

***

When Russia was awarded the Sochi Games, in 2007, the environmental and security concerns that still plague the $51-billion project swiftly cropped up. But gay rights only came to the fore in the summer of 2013, when the Russian government, which decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, banned the dissemination of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” around children—making it more difficult for gay activists to operate and, rights groups allege, fueling a rise in anti-gay violence in the country. Around the same time, President Vladimir Putin signed another law prohibiting gay and lesbian couples in foreign countries from adopting Russian children. Putin has since declared that gays attending the Olympics should feel “at ease” (so long as they “leave the children in peace”), but that’s done little to prevent Sochi from becoming a battleground for gay rights. The mayor of Sochi saying there were no gay people in his city didn’t help, either.

In perhaps the most provocative rebuke to Russia’s limits on LGBT rights, President Obama has included three openly gay athletes—Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow, and Brian Boitano—in the U.S. Olympic delegation, while skipping the Games himself. Gay Olympic athletes have expressed outrage as well; the Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, for instance, has vowed to “rip on [Putin’s] ass” after competing and possibly flash an oblique six-finger salute in reference to “Principle Six,” an anti-discrimination clause in the Olympic Charter. In this climate, and in light of the International Olympic Committee’s prohibition against political statements, everything from American Apparel hoodies to the soundtrack at speed-skating competitions could serve as platforms for subtle protest. Then there’s the solution proposed by Saturday Night Live: an all-heterosexual Team USA figure-skating squad:

The laws against homosexuality that have recently made international headlines aren’t necessarily new, Stern says, but they are “getting more attention today because of the level of progress that we’ve seen in other parts of the world.”

“What’s unique about this moment,” she adds, “is the convergence of court decisions and proposed legislation that go above and beyond in their efforts to repress LGBT people and LGBT-rights activism.”

***

The Sochi Olympics come during a dizzying period in the history of the global gay-rights movement. Last year witnessed several significant advances for activists. In the U.S., nine states legalized same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Brazil, Britain, France, New Zealand, and Uruguay all legalized gay marriage as well (just this week, Northern Cyprus repealed Europe’s last sodomy law). Questioned about gay priests, Pope Francis famously asked, “Who am I to judge?” It was enough for one activist to dub 2013 “the gayest year in gay history”—or, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty put it, “the year LGBT rights went global.”

But going global hasn’t necessarily meant going in the direction gay-rights advocates would like. In recent months, India’s Supreme Court has reinstated a ban on gay sex (in one fell swoop doubling, by one estimate, the number of gay people in the world who can be imprisoned for their sexuality) and Australia’s High Court has overturned gay-marriage legislation. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, the authorities have reportedly begun arresting people under a new law that outlaws gay advocacy and punishes gay marriage with up to 14 years in prison. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has expressed opposition to a proposed bill meting out life imprisonment for gays—only to characterize homosexuality as an “abnormality” and lesbianism as a product of “sexual starvation.” We know the story in Russia, where Vladimir Putin has anointed himself the leader of an international conservative counteroffensive against the West’s “genderless and infertile” liberalism.

As the Brussels-based International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) noted in its latest report on “state-sponsored homophobia,” “little has changed in the proportion between countries criminalizing same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults and those which do not, i.e., respectively, 76 (roughly 40% of UN Members) versus 114 (roughly 60% of UN Members).”

The “current division of the world—from the point of view of legislation—into an LGBTI-friendly ­ field and an LGBTI-unfriendly ­field is the result of different cultural, social and political processes rooted in the histories of the countries and the history of their relations with one another,” the study added.

Here’s how that divided world looked as of May 2013, when ILGA came out with its report (click on the map to expand):


ILGA

In a June report titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality,” the Pew Research Center arrived at similar conclusions, finding “broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.”

Pew reported that attitudes about homosexuality “have been fairly stable in recent years” save for in Canada, South Korea, and the U.S., where public support has grown significantly, and that “acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives”—nations that also tend to be the wealthiest in the world. Exceptions include Russia and China, where levels of religiosity and tolerance for homosexuality are both low.


Pew Research Center

Here are the percentages of respondents in the 39 countries Pew surveyed who said society should accept homosexuality. Except in South Africa, where gay marriage is legal but only 32 percent accept homosexuality, same-sex marriage has, not surprisingly, advanced the most in countries where support of homosexuality is highest.


Pew Research Center

Religion undoubtedly informs opinions on LGBT rights—a dynamic reinforced by the recent trend of globetrotting American evangelicals, stymied at home, crafting and promoting restrictions on homosexuality in foreign capitals—but it’s not the only factor at play. India and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, are implementing gay-sex bans with roots in British colonialism.

Then there’s domestic politics and geopolitics. Vladimir Putin, ILGA Executive Director Renato Sabbadini argues, sees anti-gay legislation as a means of placating the powerful Russian Orthodox Church and defending ‘traditional values’ in opposition to the West, where LGBT rights are generally advancing. But Putin knows that as a member of the Council of Europe, a human-rights organization, Russia cannot recriminalize homosexuality. Hence the country’s roundabout propaganda and adoption laws.


A Sochi protest banner in Moscow, which reads in full, “Homophobia is the shame of Russia.” (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

Stern and Sabbadini emphasize that legislation is only one means of assessing the state of the global LGBT community. The growth of gay activism, even in countries where the legal climate for homosexuals is repressive, is another. Stern points to the Kampala-based Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law’s outspoken opposition to Uganda’s anti-gay bill, while Sabbadini cites how Indian gay-rights activists swiftly mobilized to protest the restoration of the country’s ban on homosexual acts. Sabbadini adds that his organization is trying to determine how to track another measure: levels of anti-gay violence across countries.

“The picture on the ground may be very different from one country to the other, and not always in direct correlation with the legislation they have,” Sabbadini tells me. “You may have a country which has adopted progressive legislation and, at the same time, in the same country, you might have an increase in attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” In Brazil, for example, same-sex marriage is legal, but more transgender people are murdered than anywhere else in the world.

Stern also takes issue with the notion that Sochi is simply a dramatization of today’s global gay-rights divide. “I don’t think you can reduce it to a symbol, because the anti-gay laws are so far-reaching and egregious,” she says. “The fear I have is that the day after the Olympics concludes, the global attention will move on from Russia. And the laws are still in place, and people are still unsafe.”

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/how-sochi-became-the-gay-olympics/283398/

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Sesame Street – is Big Bird transgendered?

A big thanks to Will Johnson for sharing this with us!

New York – The last few years has seen more than a few eye-catching character reinventions on the long-time award-winning children’s show, Sesame Street. The changes are not surprising given that it’s on PBS, a network committed to advancing progressive values while instilling a strong sense of community among its viewers.Take, for instance, Cookie Monster’s recent substitution of an all-cookie diet to a balanced one with vegetables as a main focus. For those of you who may not be familiar with the strangely endearing shaggy blue puppet, Cookie Monster, as his name illustrates, has always been quite the lover of all things ‘cookie’. But in 2005, writers decided that it was time for the character to promote healthier eating habits in a country ravaged by the hungry jowls of obesity.

In a similar vein, the Sesame Street franchise has introduced us to Kami, an HIV-positive character, a much older Elmo grappling with issues of puberty and masturbation, as well as Oscar the Grouch’s recent bouts with the harsh realities of homelessness and schizophrenia. All of these changes seem to be part and parcel of the show’s evolution and has helped connect viewers to a much more pertinent reflection of the world that they live in.

“It’s pivotal that our shows give an adequate representation of the actual society that we’re living in, ” observed PBS correspondent, Holman Akwame, “change is good.” These changes, however, were only the tip of the iceberg. Just last week, the iconic, fun-loving Big Bird -who has been undergoing some troubling identity issues this season- came out as transgender and will be continuing the show as a female character.The larger-than-life, seemingly asexual bird is helping ease viewers into her new lifestyle and educating children as to the importance of accepting who they are. The groundbreaking episode, which urged viewers to practice patience, love, and support for all individuals, reached a whopping 5.5 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings- a number rivaled only by the Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” back in 2011.

“The positive responses have been overwhelming! We’ve received literally hundreds of letters and phone calls in a matter of days,” says Ben Lerman, one of the show’s co-producers. “In all honesty, we don’t expect viewers to immediately accept this change, and that’s just real life. These things do take time, true, but we believe that easing viewers into this character change will sympathetically mirror Big Bird’s transitioning process, so that -in a way- it evokes a deep empathy as the viewer feels a similar kind of transitioning. We’re hoping to create something of a video interaction or identity dialogue, if you will.”

Lerman, together with several of the show’s veteran writers, admits to having initially felt somewhat conflicted about the writing decision, but realizing the positive message would ultimately outweigh the controversy, felt truly compelled to green light the project.

Reception is in fact, mixed, but overall, records show that it has been surprisingly positive. “I didn’t believe it at first! It was just such an giant step forward totally out of the blue,” says Greg Halloran, Project Manager at the New York Transgender Coalition. “Gender identity is something children definitely need to know more about. I mean, Big Bird is still lovable, ole Big Bird! She simply prefers a different pronoun and this is the kind of thing people need to start acclimating to.”Sesame Street, which has showcased a dizzying number of celebrities throughout the years, is certainly not lacking in support. “You def know you’ve made it if you get to be on Sesame Street with all those muppets, sure, ” comments Dylan McIntyre, star of the upcoming live-action video game adaptation “Contra: Real Corps”. Such sentiments certainly appear to be common among actors and musicians, many of whom admit to getting their start on the show.

“I love Sesame Street, man. It will always speak to a deep part of me. And I love Big Bird, male or female- it don’t matter,” says 43 year-old, Matthew Rivera, lead singer of the prog rock project, ’2 Die 4? out of Sacramento, California.

All in all, it might seem strange that a children’s show would tackle such strong issues, but Sesame Street’s track record as one the longest-running television programs in history is a testament to its rapport with the public, both young and old.

Big-bird-NEW“We feel that we have a responsibility to our viewers, and we want to make sure to keep our relationship fresh every step of the way,” says Lerman. By the looks of it, that is certainly the case.

As to Big Bird’s new transition, producers at PBS are optimistic about the public’s acceptance of the new changes and will be paying close attention to productive feedback. Perhaps this is one of the secrets to a successful television program: communication. Take note, America, as PBS promises to do their best in keeping the viewers in mind, whether counting the 1-2-3?s or singing the A-B-C’s.

- See more at: http://nationalreport.net/big-bird-transgender/#print

New York – The last few years has seen more than a few eye-catching character reinventions on the long-time award-winning children’s show, Sesame Street. The changes are not surprising given that it’s on PBS, a network committed to advancing progressive values while instilling a strong sense of community among its viewers.Take, for instance, Cookie Monster’s recent substitution of an all-cookie diet to a balanced one with vegetables as a main focus. For those of you who may not be familiar with the strangely endearing shaggy blue puppet, Cookie Monster, as his name illustrates, has always been quite the lover of all things ‘cookie’. But in 2005, writers decided that it was time for the character to promote healthier eating habits in a country ravaged by the hungry jowls of obesity.

In a similar vein, the Sesame Street franchise has introduced us to Kami, an HIV-positive character, a much older Elmo grappling with issues of puberty and masturbation, as well as Oscar the Grouch’s recent bouts with the harsh realities of homelessness and schizophrenia. All of these changes seem to be part and parcel of the show’s evolution and has helped connect viewers to a much more pertinent reflection of the world that they live in.

- See more at: http://nationalreport.net/big-bird-transgender/#print

Sesame Street’s Big Bird Comes Out As Transgender

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A picture of the gang taken in 2009.

A picture of the gang taken in 2009.

New York – The last few years has seen more than a few eye-catching character reinventions on the long-time award-winning children’s show, Sesame Street. The changes are not surprising given that it’s on PBS, a network committed to advancing progressive values while instilling a strong sense of community among its viewers.Take, for instance, Cookie Monster’s recent substitution of an all-cookie diet to a balanced one with vegetables as a main focus. For those of you who may not be familiar with the strangely endearing shaggy blue puppet, Cookie Monster, as his name illustrates, has always been quite the lover of all things ‘cookie’. But in 2005, writers decided that it was time for the character to promote healthier eating habits in a country ravaged by the hungry jowls of obesity.

In a similar vein, the Sesame Street franchise has introduced us to Kami, an HIV-positive character, a much older Elmo grappling with issues of puberty and masturbation, as well as Oscar the Grouch’s recent bouts with the harsh realities of homelessness and schizophrenia. All of these changes seem to be part and parcel of the show’s evolution and has helped connect viewers to a much more pertinent reflection of the world that they live in.

Sesame Street is no stranger to social commentary.

Sesame Street is no stranger to social commentary.

“It’s pivotal that our shows give an adequate representation of the actual society that we’re living in, ” observed PBS correspondent, Holman Akwame, “change is good.” These changes, however, were only the tip of the iceberg. Just last week, the iconic, fun-loving Big Bird -who has been undergoing some troubling identity issues this season- came out as transgender and will be continuing the show as a female character.The larger-than-life, seemingly asexual bird is helping ease viewers into her new lifestyle and educating children as to the importance of accepting who they are. The groundbreaking episode, which urged viewers to practice patience, love, and support for all individuals, reached a whopping 5.5 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings- a number rivaled only by the Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” back in 2011.

Security cautiously escorts Big Bird actor off the set shortly after recording the groundbreaking episode.

Security cautiously escorts Big Bird actor off set shortly after recording of groundbreaking episode.

“The positive responses have been overwhelming! We’ve received literally hundreds of letters and phone calls in a matter of days,” says Ben Lerman, one of the show’s co-producers. “In all honesty, we don’t expect viewers to immediately accept this change, and that’s just real life. These things do take time, true, but we believe that easing viewers into this character change will sympathetically mirror Big Bird’s transitioning process, so that -in a way- it evokes a deep empathy as the viewer feels a similar kind of transitioning. We’re hoping to create something of a video interaction or identity dialogue, if you will.”

Lerman, together with several of the show’s veteran writers, admits to having initially felt somewhat conflicted about the writing decision, but realizing the positive message would ultimately outweigh the controversy, felt truly compelled to green light the project.

Good ole Big Bird posing for the camera.

Good ole Big Bird posing for the camera.

Reception is in fact, mixed, but overall, records show that it has been surprisingly positive. “I didn’t believe it at first! It was just such an giant step forward totally out of the blue,” says Greg Halloran, Project Manager at the New York Transgender Coalition. “Gender identity is something children definitely need to know more about. I mean, Big Bird is still lovable, ole Big Bird! She simply prefers a different pronoun and this is the kind of thing people need to start acclimating to.”Sesame Street, which has showcased a dizzying number of celebrities throughout the years, is certainly not lacking in support. “You def know you’ve made it if you get to be on Sesame Street with all those muppets, sure, ” comments Dylan McIntyre, star of the upcoming live-action video game adaptation “Contra: Real Corps”. Such sentiments certainly appear to be common among actors and musicians, many of whom admit to getting their start on the show.

“I love Sesame Street, man. It will always speak to a deep part of me. And I love Big Bird, male or female- it don’t matter,” says 43 year-old, Matthew Rivera, lead singer of the prog rock project, ’2 Die 4? out of Sacramento, California.

All in all, it might seem strange that a children’s show would tackle such strong issues, but Sesame Street’s track record as one the longest-running television programs in history is a testament to its rapport with the public, both young and old.

“We feel that we have a responsibility to our viewers, and we want to make sure to keep our relationship fresh every step of the way,” says Lerman. By the looks of it, that is certainly the case.

As to Big Bird’s new transition, producers at PBS are optimistic about the public’s acceptance of the new changes and will be paying close attention to productive feedback. Perhaps this is one of the secrets to a successful television program: communication. Take note, America, as PBS promises to do their best in keeping the viewers in mind, whether counting the 1-2-3?s or singing the A-B-C’s.

- See more at: http://nationalreport.net/big-bird-transgender/#sthash.Q3l8Qnzi.dpuf

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM WGSS

Happy-HalloweenWishing you all a happy Halloween!  As the campus ends LGBTQ History Month, join us for an emerging campus tradition – the late-night, dress up, participatory fun fest that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show! Come in wild costumes, yell at the screen, and enjoy the 1975 cult favorite starring Tim Curry as a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania.This is not an event to be missed!

Related web site: http://www.fairfield.edu/student/studentlife/studentdiversityprograms/lgbtqevents/

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Join us for “Cloudburst” part of the LGBTQ History Month Film Series

Join us this Wednesday, October 30, 7:00PM in BC200 for a truly special movie – Cloudburst

Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis (in a powerhouse career-defining performance from the 80-year-old Dukakis) and Brenda Fricker star as an elderly lesbian couple whose clueless granddaughter wants to send Fricker’s character into a nursing home. In between the laughter is an amazing 31-year love story that has survived through unbelievable odds. This is a must-see, tell your friends and family kind of movie.  You’ll be glad you saw it first with us!

cloud

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Gender-Neutral Housing Sparks Campus Debates

101613-bu-600-1381945568An interesting article about gender-neutral housing at U.S. universities:

Gender-Neutral Housing Sparks Campus Debates: Boston University offers new housing options for students, but a similar plan stalls in North Carolina

OCTOBER 16, 2013

This August, Boston University announced that it would begin offering gender-neutral housing options for students. Under the new policy, upper-class students in select BU housing can now select their roommates regardless of gender. The decision made BU the latest of nearly 100 American schools that have diversified their housing options in response to students who demand recognition of LGBTQ individuals’ safety concerns.

The push for gender-neutral housing at Boston University began last November. “In my short time at BU, I have met so many people who have been uncomfortable with their housing situations,” says Nai Collymore-Henry, vice president of the student group Gender Neutral BU. “I’ve met people who’ve been ostracized by peers and made to feel worthless because of their gender identities. That’s not OK.” In December, over 50 students participated in a sit-in at President Robert A. Brown’s office after students were told offering gender-neutral housing was not a priority. Students also showed broad-based support through a Tumblr photo campaign started by Gender Neutral BU.

Read Our Feature on the Hidden War Against Gay Teens

Other schools have successfully offered gender-neutral housing for years. Columbia University introduced what it calls Open Housing in 2011. “It grew out of a concern for individuals who may have felt uncomfortable under the then-current housing requirement to select a same-sex roommate,” says Alycen Ashburn, a student affairs spokesperson at the university. In spring 2012, Columbia extended the Open Housing option to all upperclass students, following the recommendations of a task force including staff and students.

But at many schools, gender-neutral housing remains a controversial issue. This semester, UNC-Chapel Hill has seen a heated debate following its Board of Governors’ decision to cancel a gender-neutral housing option that had already been approved. “[Gender-neutral housing] had support from UNC,” says Hayley Fowler, a student and reporter for the Daily Tar Heel. “Student government backed [the plan], and the Board of Trustees approved the decision. The student activists I spoke with were upset with the Board of Governors for overturning a decision that they felt was so clearly wanted and accepted here on campus.”

Rick Bradley, UNC-Chapel Hill’s associate director of housing and residential education, says he hopes that continued discussion will shift the Board of Governors’ views. “I suspect that if you talk to Board of Governors members, their reason for denying this is probably not accurate to the reasons the students are looking forward to it,” Bradley says.  He notes that contrary to what some opponents have suggested, taxpayer dollars would not be involved in a move to gender-neutral housing, and no one would be forced to participate in the opt-in program.

At schools like UNC-Chapel Hill and Boston University, what was once a conversation within the LGBTQ community has broadened to the entire student body. And the fight isn’t over. “Our mission is to provide resources to BU students about gender,” says Collymore-Henry. “We also intend to push for more gender-neutral facilities on BU’s campus.”

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gender-neutral-housing-sparks-campus-debates-20131016

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LGBTQ History Month Film Series: I Do (2012) – Tomorrow Night!

 

 

MV5BMTAxNzg2MTM5NjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDM4NjQ1MTg@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_Fresh off the Supreme Court decision this past summer, I Do explores issues surrounding bi-national same-sex couples and immigration. A gay Brit living in New York marries his lesbian best friend to remain in the country and stay with his family, but things get complicated when he meets the love of his life and is forced to make an impossible choice. Starring writer/producer David W. Ross and featuring Alicia Witt and Jamie Lynn Sigler, I Do is a beautiful film that will resonate inside you long after you’ve seePreviewn it.

Wednesday, October 23  7:00 pm

BCC 200

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LGBTQ Keynote Speech, tonight!

Come out for a great event tonight!

Tonight, Chris Stedman, author of “Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious,” will deliver the LGBTQ History Month’s keynote speech.

Stedman is assistant Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and emeritus managing director of state of formation at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue. He founded the blog NonProphet Status and is a frequent contributor to Salon, CNN, MSNBC, The Advocate, USA Today, and The Washington Post. The Huffington Post named his work as one of the Top 11 Religion Stories of 2011 and dubbed him one of the top interfaith activists on Twitter.

His talk begins at 7 p.m. in the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center Presentation Room.

FileItem-277643-chris011copy

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History of LGBTQ Film: Lecture and Exhibition Tomorrow Night!

Come out for a fascinating lecture about LGBTQ History, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13 at 7 p.m. – Lucaks Gallery, Loyola Hall

Film, Television and Media Arts affiliate faculty member Professor Wes Davis will be conducting a visual tour of LGBTQ film history through his extensive personal collection of film memorabilia. Professor Davis will use Vito Russo’s seminal work, The Celluloid Closet, to frame a discussion on LGBTQ characters in film throughout history using his film posters, lobby cards, and other memorabilia.

MV5BMTI2NjIzOTI5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTcwNTEyMQ@@._V1._SX326_SY475_

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Peer Led Safe Space Training this Monday, October 7

As part of LGBTQ History Month, Fairfield University will offer its first ever peer-led, peer-focused Safe Space Training.  Students will learn about the experiences of LGBTQ individuals, develop cultural  competencies relative to the LGBTQ community, and learn effective tools to serve as allies to the community.  This is an excellent leadership opportunity for all students – it also counts for FYE credit!

Join us for this great event on Monday, October 7 at 7PM at 70 McCormick Loungeallylogo

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October is LGBTQ History Month

WGSS is proud to once again co-sponsor LGBTQ History Month here at Fairfield University!  In honor of National Coming Out Day on October 10, Fairfield University will be celebrating LGBTQ History Month this October with a wide-reaching and engaging series of events that focus on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community. In a long-standing partnership between Academic and Student Affairs, the programs intend to bring together all members of our community to reflect on the history, culture, and future of the LGBTQ community.

Please check out the attached document for a full list of events. Poster 2013LGBT-Flag

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Washington Same-Sex Marriage Measure Signed Into Law By Chris Gregoire

An important moment for equality – same sex marriages begin in Washington State!

From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/washington-same-sex-marriage_n_2248014.html

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election on Wednesday afternoon, as they were joined by couples who plan to wed and community activists who worked on the campaign supporting gay marriage. The law doesn’t take effect until Thursday, when gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses at county auditors’ offices. King County, the state’s largest and home to Seattle, and Thurston County, home to the state capital of Olympia, will open the earliest, at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, to start issuing marriage licenses.

Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday. Same-sex couples who previously were married in another state that allows gay marriage, like Massachusetts, will not have to get remarried in Washington state. Their marriages will be valid here as soon as the law takes effect.

“This is a very important and historic day in the great state of Washington,” Gregoire said before signing the measure that officially certified the election results. “For many years now we’ve said one more step, one more step. And this is our last step for marriage equality in the state of Washington.”

Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. They joined six other states – New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont – and the District of Columbia that had already enacted laws or issued court rulings permitting same-sex marriage.

Referendum 74 in Washington state had asked voters to either approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gregoire in February but was put on hold pending the outcome of the election. Nearly 54 percent of voters approved the measure.

The law doesn’t require religious organizations or churches to perform marriages, and it doesn’t subject churches to penalties if they don’t marry gay or lesbian couples.

Heather Kawmoto and Kay Lancaster of Tacoma attended the signing event Wednesday afternoon with their 9-year-old daughter, Kayleigh Kawmoto.

Kawmoto and Lancaster have been together more than 14 years, and domestic partners since 2007, and both said they can’t wait to finally pick up their marriage license as soon as the Pierce County auditor’s office opens at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. They will marry in a small ceremony on Sunday in Tacoma.

“It’s something we’ve hoped for and dreamed of,” Lancaster said. “I didn’t dare hope that it would be this soon, and we’re just thrilled that it is.”

Lancaster and Kawmoto said that the reality of their impending marriage sunk in in the past few days, as they were writing their vows.

“We never knew we’d be able to say those things to each other,” Lancaster said, starting to cry, as Kayleigh quickly handed her a tissue.

Maryland’s law officially takes effect Jan. 1, however couples can start picking up marriage licenses on Thursday, as long as the license has an effective date of Jan. 1. Whether clerks of court issue a postdated license is up to them, however. They are not required to do so. Maine’s law takes effect on Dec. 29. There’s no waiting period in Maine, and people can start marrying just after midnight.

In addition to private ceremonies that will start taking place across Washington state this weekend, Seattle City Hall will open for several hours on Sunday, and several local judges are donating their time to marry couples. Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn, said that more than 140 couples have registered to get married at City Hall, and weddings will begin at 10 a.m.

Washington state has had a domestic partnership law in place since 2007. The initial law granted couples about two dozen rights, including hospital visitation and inheritance rights when there is no will. It was expanded a year later, and then again in 2009, when lawmakers completed the package with the so-called “everything but marriage” law that was ultimately upheld by voters later that year.

This year, lawmakers passed the law allowing gay marriage, and Gregoire signed it in February. Opponents gathered enough signatures for a referendum, putting the law on hold before it could take effect.

There are nearly 10,000 domestic partnership registrations with the secretary of state’s office. Most same-sex domestic partnerships that aren’t ended prior to June 30, 2014, automatically become marriages, unless one of the partners is 62 or older.

That provision was included in the state’s first domestic partnership law of 2007 to help heterosexual seniors who don’t remarry out of fear they could lose certain pension or Social Security benefits.

Marcy Kulland and Terry Virgona, both 59 and from Tacoma, said they plan to get married on Sept. 28, 2013 to celebrate their 22nd anniversary.

“I’m just ecstatic. Now we’re legitimized,” Kulland said. “It’s just absolutely wonderful.”

However, she that while the state law is a great step forward, as long as federal law continues to deny federal recognition of same-sex marriages, there’s more to be done.

“This completes us, it doesn’t complete our work,” Kulland said.

___

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From the Fairfield Mirror: Campus Groups Unite

Here’s an opportunity to get involved on campus and support causes related to women, gender and sexuality.

On Monday night, a small but passionate group of student leaders assembled in the BCC to form a new network of humanitarian and justice activists on campus.

Known as the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), this organization formed for the purpose of bringing exposure to important causes on campus and providing support for student organizations trying to make a difference.

PSA first organized late last year, and so the network was still in its early stages at the end of the semester. As a result, they are “just now finding out how best to network to strengthen our movements collectively,” according to Arturo Jaras Watts ’14.

Jaras Watts is one of many students involved in the launch of PSA last year. Rachel Lang ’14, Crystal Rodriguez ’14 and Mike Elwell ’13, as well as graduates Marissa Tota ’12 and Alicia Bissonnette ’12, brought PSA to life. Both Jaras Watts and Record were quick to emphasize throughout the meeting that the purpose of PSA was not to create a new organization with them as leaders. Rather, PSA will function as a horizontal network of dedicated leaders who provide support for other organizations on campus with important causes.

“Each of us here represent different clubs that we are committed to,” said Record. “But the purpose of PSA is so that when it gets to a point … where you go and present these ideas and it’s on the line and you need backup, we can come.”

Record clarified that this support was not automatic. “If you need a petition that needs to be signed, we should all read it and not just blindly follow you guys,” Record said, “but I think we can see the benefits that this would accrue for all of us.”

Another important function of PSA is to increase the visibility of important humanitarian and justice events happening on campus. In order to accomplish this goal, PSA discussed options such as compiling a bathroom newsletter that lists these events and provides information about the clubs and organizations sponsoring them.

“We have events like the phenomenal Take Back the Night event that happens every year and we want participation to be as large as possible,” said Jaras Watts. “The newsletter would serve that side of the function of increasing the visibility and reaching a greater portion of Fairfield students.” The group also discussed creating a public space such as a bulletin board in the BCC that would display these events and club information.

In all, ten different groups and organizations were represented at the meeting on Monday, although not all clubs involved in PSA were able to send representatives to the meeting. These groups ranged from the environmental club Leaders for Environmental Action at Fairfield (LEAF) to Act Against, a student movement that works to bring important issues to the forefront of campus consciousness.

The organizations and clubs involved in PSA are currently working on assembling their newsletter, which they hope to release during the first weeks of next semester.

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ISSUES 2012 – Part of the 2012 Election Series – this Wednesday!

Issues 2012 will consist of a dinner and a faculty panel discussion about this current election and issues relating to gender and sexuality.

The dinner is open to all students living in the Residential Colleges; Creative Life, Ignation and Service for Justice and will be held at 6PM on Wednesday, October 24 in the Kelley Center Presentation Room.  The panel discussion will follow at 7PM.  These events count for FYE Credit!

Sponsored by Service for Justice, Creative Life, and Ignatian Residential College, and the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons

 

 

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Boston Globe reports “LGBT workplace policies a draw for MBA students”

 

This week, some of America’s biggest and best known corporations, including Walt Disney Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and consumer products giant Unilever, will descend on Boston to recruit students from the nation’s top business schools.

The companies will promote industry trends and career opportunities. And they will also highlight policies that make their workplaces friendly, comfortable, and inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

On Thursday, more than 1,000 MBA candidates, corporate executives, and recruiters will gather at the Seaport ­Hotel and World Trade Center for the annual Reaching Out LGBT MBA Conference, which aims to connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or ­LGBT, business school students with some of the nation’s leading companies. Now in its 14th year, the conference has grown from 150 students networking over boxed lunches at Harvard Business School to a three-day event with high-profile sponsors, a sign that corporate America is more progressive than the public sector when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

The first major public company to offer health benefits to gay and lesbian couples, in 1991, was Lotus Development Corp., a Cambridge software company — more than a decade before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Nearly all of the 636 major companies surveyed this year by the Human Rights Campaign — 99 percent — prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation; 80 percent forbid discrimination based on gender identity. Yet there are no federal laws, and only a handful of state laws, that do the same.

“There’s really no question that corporate America is leading the charge in the area of workplace fairness,” said Paul Guequierre, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil rights organization in Washington. “In 29 states you can be fired from a job for being gay, and in 34 states for being transgender. That sad fact makes corporate nondiscrimination policies vital for LGBT workers.”

Executives say their companies haven’t put these policies in place for altruistic reasons. They are hungry for talent and want to attract the best and the brightest. In addition, labor specialists say, a diverse workforce contributes to a company’s profitability. A variety of experiences and opinions leads to a more well-rounded, creative process, and can appeal to a wider array of consumers.

Like many people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, Hannah Yankelevich, who will graduate with an MBA from Dartmouth College next year, said she’ll consider how companies treat LGBT workers when she weighs offers. She’s thinking about returning to General Mills in Minneapolis, where she interned over the summer, because the chief executive announced that the company opposed an amendment recognizing marriage only as the union between a man and a woman.

“I wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t offer a supportive environment for the LGBT community, ” said Yankelevich, 27, one of the organizers of the conference.

State Street Corp. is attending the Reaching Out conference for the first time this year as it seeks to further expand its recruiting into minority and underrepresented communities. The Boston financial services giant attends conferences held by the National Black MBA Association and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting for the same reason.

“Were not going to advance State Street unless we have access to the best talent, and that’s by offering an environment where employees can bring their whole selves to the workplace,” said Mike Scannell, head of talent acquisition and global inclusion. “For us to not be open to individuals regardless of their background is really prohibiting us from getting access to the best resources and talent that are out there.”

Along with policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, State Street has an employee group for LGBT workers and offers domestic partner health insurance, including transgender benefits for prescriptions and laboratory tests. The company is considering covering sex change surgery.

Mike Harrington, vice president and senior counsel at State Street, said he probably wouldn’t have come to State Street from a Boston law firm in 1998 if the company wasn’t welcoming to gay employees. In fact, Harrington told a headhunter that he wouldn’t apply for an opening at one New England company because it didn’t offer health insurance for same-sex partners. But it’s more than the benefits that have kept him at State Street. He feels comfortable plastering his office with pictures of his two sons and partner of 12 years.

“My family is the same as everyone else’s,” he said. “For me, it’s more about being in a place where I talk about Dave in the same way that the woman who sits next to me talks about her husband.”

Antonio Gomez-Lopez, a second-year student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, feels the same way. Gomez-Lopez, who helped organize the Reaching Out conference, said a company’s LGBT policies play a crucial role in deciding where he will work.

“I don’t want to hold a double life,” he said.

http://bostonglobe.com/business/2012/10/17/lgbt-workplace-policies-draw-for-mba-students/vJIUkPBP8SQCp6S1VxtiuI/story.html
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Out at The Workplace: An LGBT Alumni Group Panel – This Wednesday!

Out in the Workplace: an LGBT Alumni Group Panel will happen this Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7PM in BCC 200.

In an interactive panel, Fairfield University alumni will address students about being openly gay in the workplace and offer strategies for career success while embracing diversity.

Fairfield University will be celebrating National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month this October with an aggressive and engaging series of events that focus on the experiences of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community. In a continued partnership between the Academic and Student Affairs divisions, the slate of programming is intended to bring together students, faculty, staff, and alumni to reflect on the history, culture, and future of the LGBTQ community. The events include an exciting mix of films, speakers, panels, and socials. All events are free and open to the public.

LGBTQ History month events are sponsored by The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, The Humanities Institute, Dolan School of Business, Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, Office of Student Diversity Programs, Office of New Student Programs, Office of Residence Life, The Department of Communication, The Women’s Studies Program, Campus Ministry, The English Department, Alliance student group and Fairfield University LGBT Alumni.

Related web site: www.fairfield.edu/student/sd_lgbt.html

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Fairfield University Celebrates LGBTQ History Month

Once again, Fairfield University is participating in the nationall LGBTQ History Month with a series of events featuring art, speakers, and films.  View the events here on campus at http://www.fairfield.edu/documents/student/sd_lgbt_poster12.pdf

LGBTQ History Month got its start in 1994 when Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher, suggested there should be a month dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history.  Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBTQ History Month.  LGBTQ History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement of our extraordinary national and international contributions.

LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Icons. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.  Check it out at http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com/

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A Year Ago Today: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Came to an End

Twelve months ago today, the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed and the LGBT community was allowed to openly serve in the community.

The Huffington Post has published an article in honor of this first anniverasry, featuring 25 historic moments related to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” occurring in the last 12 months.  Check it out here: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ One-Year Repeal Anniversary: 25 Amazing Moments

 

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Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons plans for a busy academic year!

Today we met with Fairfield University juniors, Rachel Lang and Astrid Quinones to talk to them about the Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons (GSSC).

Last year, Lang, Quinones and others found it necessary to claim a space to create and foster and all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities, and thus established the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC). In the process of creating this space, they collaborated with the Diversity Office, Women’s Studies Department, and clubs such as Alliance and Sisters Inspiring Sisters to build bridges across student groups with common interests and between students and academic department. Physically, the space acts as a central location for clubs to have meetings, discussions, and to network for events both inside and beyond Fairfield University to combat injustice.  The GSSC is located at 70 McCormick, room 123 and is open to students around the clock.

The GSSC will be busy this semester organizing events in connection with LGBTQ Month in October and a film screening and discussion in November about sexual assault in the military.  Last spring, the GSSC was active in organizing Women’s History Month through V-Day events, Take Back the Night and a Women’s Day Celebration, along with Fairfield’s own Gender Bender Ball.  2012’s theme for Women’s Day was empowerment, and raised awareness of the various issues we face and the things both men and women can do to empower others. Bringing together more student groups than ever, GSSC had student clubs, initiatives, and programs come to Women’s Day to present their passion in conjunction with the theme of empowerment.

Interested in becoming involved in the planning of this academic year’s events?  Come to 70 McCormick, room 123 to share your ideas on Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm.  If you can’t make it but have some ideas, please email Rachel.lang@student.fairfield.edu or astrid.quinones@student.fairfield.edu   

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