News and notes from the WGS program @ Fairfield

Archive for October, 2013


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!

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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!


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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.”

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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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WGSS Welcomes Professor Emily Orlando as Co-Director

WGSS is pleased to announce that committee member, Emily Orlando, is now co-director of the program!   Professor Orlando’s teaching and research interests include 19th- and early 20th-century literature, Victorian culture, women’s studies, African American literature, and the intersections between visual, literary, and popular culture.  She has taught courses in American literature, Victorian literature, transatlantic decadence, women’s/gender studies, and the first-year writing sequence.

She is the author of Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts (Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2008), as well as articles that have appeared in the following peer-reviewed journals and books: American Literary Realism; New Voices on the Harlem Renaissance: Essays on Race, Gender, and Literary Discourse; Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture; Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal; Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country: A Reassessment; and Edith Wharton in Context (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).   292

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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.


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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.


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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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