Last week, attendees of Smith dining hall’s annual Passover seder were reciting the line, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Spectrum club members in the LGBTQ Center next door posed a similar question: “Why is this month different from all other months?” The answer? It’s Gay-pril: a month full of LGBTQ-themed events for the campus. To kick off the month-long event, Jen Manion, Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center and Assistant Professor of History, will be giving a lecture called “Why Marriage? Homonormativity and Limits of Liberalism” on April 7 at noon in the Center. The talk will address the role of the same-sex marriage campaign within the context of the LGBTQ movement for liberation. Manion hopes the audience leaves the talk with a more complex understanding of gay marriage, and an awareness of the rights and freedoms the gay community might be giving up in their efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. CCASA (Connecticut College Asian/Asian American Student Association) has organized the “True Diversity Workshop” for April 14, to be held in Blaustein 210 with Magdalen Hsu-Li, a bisexual Asian-American. Hsu-Li is an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter, painter and cultural activist. The workshop seeks to build upon the audience’s awareness of diversity and uncover diversity issues within each individual. MEChA, the Mexican-American cultural appreciation and social justice club on campus, has also collaborated with Spectrum to host guest speaker Professor Irene Mata of Wellesley College on April 21. Mata will give a talk, “‘Oye mi canto’: Challenging Constructions of Gender, Sexuality, and Nation in the Chicana/Latino Community,” in Olin 014 at 4:30. MEChA’s co-chair, Joselyne Flores ‘10, said that the club had wanted to address of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgend aer Queer and Questioning in the Latina/o community. Professor Manion convinced the club to hold the event during Gaypril; Flores expressed gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with the LGBTQ Resource Center. “We decided to do this to get involved with other clubs and groups on campus,” she said. “We’re a small club [in our first year] that wants to get our feet wet. This is a great way to do that.” Professor Manion expressed her excitement for the events, especially those in which the gay community could collaborate with other groups on campus. “Both MEChA and CCASA have planned events for GAY-pril that address the specific experiences of LGBT people of color, as well as acknowledge the fact that sexuality and gender are also racial categories.” Openly gay English Professor Blanche Boyd was pleased to hear about the events taking place this month on campus, stating that anything that makes gay people and people questioning their sexuality more comfortable is a good thing. Boyd compared being gay to being left-handed: both are a small percentage of the population, and both are part of how people naturally are. “Until gay people are as comfortable with being gay as left-handed people are comfortable with being left-handed, we’ll have to keep making an issue of it,” she said. Other noteworthy events include the annual National Day of Silence on April 16. During the day, students can take a pledge to remain silent, representing those LGBTQ people in our country that have experienced hate crimes or have been afraid to openly express their sexuality. On April 18, Spectrum will be screening of the film, “Out For the Long Run,” a movie about openly gay students who participate in the world of college sports. Spectrum’s chair, Brenner Green ‘12, is interviewed in the documentary as an out varsity athlete. Green hopes that “people who see this film to understand that gay, lesbian, and bisexual athletes are no different than straight athletes.” Tanaha Simon ‘13 was pleased to hear about Gay-pril’s events on campus. “When I heard about events like Drag Ball and Gaypril, I was happy that Spectrum and similar organizations are so active here. They don’t sit back and let campus life swirl around them; they have a purpose and do a nice job of promoting it.” Other events include a barbecue with the Men’s Social Group on April 9, and a special Tuesday Tea on April 20, and a lecture by French professor Catherine Spencer entitled “The Republic’s Closet: Can One be ‘Gay’ and French?” on April 21.
About Sarah Kosofsky 13 Articles
Sarah Kosofsky '12 plans to major in government and chinese. She is President of Club Softball and is active in Spectrum.