A new systemwide symposium sponsored by the University of Colorado Faculty Council aims to “check the pulse” of the CU community regarding issues and challenges affecting the gay community.
The council, working through the Committee on GLBTI Affairs, has set Oct. 19 for “Reaching Out to Friends and Allies: Building the GLBTI Community,” a day of workshops and discussions at St. Cajetan’s Church at the University of Colorado Denver on the Auraria Campus. CU faculty, staff, administrators, students and community leaders are invited to register and take part in the event, running from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The event’s themes: crossing boundaries; challenging assumptions; assessing the campus climate.
Discussion groups will address questions of openness, diversity, safety, and health and wellness in the campus communities of Denver and the Front Range.
Two keynote speakers are scheduled: Mark Groshek, M.D., physician lead for eHealth at Kaiser Permanente Colorado and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; and Ronni Sanlo , Ed.D., author, educator and consultant on LGBT issues across the country. They will help attendees to focus and frame plans for enhanced communication and action to raise consciousness among all CU campus communities.
CU Denver Provost Rod Nairn will make introductory remarks at the event, and CU Board of Regents Chair Michael Carrigan will be the lunchtime speaker.
Free continental breakfast and lunch will be provided to attendees, but advance registration is required.
From the event website:
Two generations ago gays were mostly ignored or shunned, if not bashed outright, on most American college campuses. Words like “lesbian,” “queer” and “homosexual” were whispered furtively in dark corners if spoken at all. Trans people were regularly mocked and abused. Over the years since Stonewall, the GLBTQ community has spoken out -- often quite loudly! Modern media, the AIDS pandemic and focused discussions around such issues as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military have done much to bring attention the everyday challenges faced by members of the gay community.
However, many people to this day still feel threatened and harassed on campus by forces of reaction and individual bigotry. Are Queers as a group now merely tolerated and grudgingly accepted or has positive affirmation and celebration of gay identity begun to take hold such that basic safety is no longer an issue? Shouldn't university campuses, supposed to be places of civil civic discourse, welcome and not avoid the diversity we bring? Has the gay community itself fully embraced inclusive values when it comes to issues of race, ethnicity, religious belief and gender identity? All of these subjects are on the table for what the planners hope will be a lively and informative day.