During the week of Nov. 3 – 7, students may have noticed a large amount of rainbows on campus. This was due to the first annual celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Week known as LGBTQ+ Week.
This week was meant to not only bring awareness of the LGBTQ+ community, said Project Head Sterling Bax but to also be a fun and educational event for people to learn and to become more respecting.
“It’s not a national thing, it’s something that our campus hasn’t done,” said Bax. “Our campus has pretty good visibility for queers and I think this just gives us an entire week to support and to show our pride together.”
Before the week kicked off, Bax and the rest of the people who were working on the project only started to advertise the week of the event. When they did start there were advertisements everywhere, flags on campus, Facebook events and posts and posters all over campus.
By starting the advertising the week of the event, they were sure to catch the attention of the student body.
“I didn’t want to advertise until the week of because people don’t typically pay attention,” said Bax.
The week started off with focusing on queers in the media and how they are represented. One example of the way that gay characters ought to be portrayed in the media, explained Bax, was Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series.
“It’s not how he is defined by his sexuality,” said Bax. “It’s just a part of him and that is what we want to see in the future.”
There was also a writing workshop held later Monday evening where students were able to talk about how to write a queer character.
Tuesday brought a Brown Bag discussion that talked about identities versus terminology.
The director of Transactive, a national non-profit organization in Portland that works with trans-youth, Jenn Burleton was on the panel, as was current student Aryn Jones and alumni and their partner and sociology professor Jaye Cee Whitehead.
The discussion, said Bax, was about how the terminology used today may not always fit with how people identify themselves.
“The basic message to take away was to really respect everybody and to respect what names and pronouns they prefer,” said Bax.
Weird Word Wednesday worked toward helping student to understand what it means to be androgynous, transgender or anything that has the trans prefix.
Also the Center for Gender Equity, CGE, brought about the discussion of what it means to be gay, lesbian and queer.
Thursday’s theme was Safe Sex Same Sex where CGE partnered with Campus Wellness and they handed out condoms, lube and dental dams.
“Safe sex should be practiced by anybody and everybody,” said Bax.
Friday was the culmination of the week with a carnival themed coming out party in held in the Multi Purpose Room.
The students were able to hear speakers discuss ways of coming out and how to accept someone who has come out. There were also students who were able to share their experiences.
“The whole week had many different people participating from groups all over campus,” said Bax. “So many people want to be involved and people of all different types.”
The event started, according to Bax, because she was working orientation this fall and people were meeting transidentified leaders for the first time.
“I think it is important for students to be able to have that experience,” said Bax. “I’m hoping that as society evolves and LGBTQ visibility evolves, I’m hoping that because this is the first year, as it goes, each class will have more of an education and more of an understanding and it will do nothing but grow.”