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Capping off Coming Out Month

By Aminat Olayinka Agaba '14 on November 7, 2013
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Every year on National Coming Out Day, students set up doors around campus to symbolize a closet. Words of encouragement and support for LGBTQ people and initiatives are written on the doors. Photo by Andrew Daddio

Last Wednesday marked the final campus event for Coming Out Month, with keynote speakers Alexis Gumbs and Julia Wallace, founders of an oral history project called Mobile Homecoming. Focused on giving a voice to gay black women, trans men, and gender queer visionaries, Mobile Homecoming involved collecting the oral histories of the LGBTQ community.

Gumbs and Wallace’s talk, coordinated by the LGBTQ Initiative and the women’s studies department, took place at the Center for Women’s Studies in East Hall. More than simply giving a lecture, the two speakers created an interactive environment, using performances and video narratives that showcased their Mobile Homecoming project. For the project, they traveled across the United States, meeting people who have been important to transforming the black queer movement since the 1980s, in order to piece together an intergenerational connection within the black LGBTQ community.

Earlier in October, the LGBTQ Initiative used other creative events and activities to get the campus involved in Coming Out Month. An annual campus favorite, the Coming Out Doors were stationed at the Coop, Reid Athletic Center, Frank Dining Hall, Case Library, and the Colgate Bookstore so that people could write positive messages on them.

The Coming Out Stories Brown Bag was also held at the women’s studies center, and three panelists had the opportunity to share their coming out stories. Another Brown Bag featured Valerie Queen from San Francisco for the Gender Rebellion: History, Practice, and Theory discussion, which addressed her work collecting stories of trans activists who are incarcerated, as well as her work supporting trans-identified prison inmates.

“It was great to have so many of the events happen in [the Center for Women’s Studies] because this is a welcoming place where anyone can learn more about people’s experiences and get important conversations going,” said Che Hatter ’13, the women’s studies program assistant. “It helps to build community and support for all of the students here.”

In addition, many groups on campus took part in Blue for Q day, in which various groups dressed in blue clothing and took pictures to show solidarity.

 

 

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