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LGBTQ Week promotes inclusion, history

Emma Driscoll | Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday marked the beginning of the first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) History Week at Notre Dame, a localized approach to the nationwide LGBTQ History Month that campus groups describe as an effort to increase awareness and historical appreciation.

The LGBTQ History Week – co-sponsored by the Gender Relations Center (GRC), Core Council, the Gender Studies Department and the History Department – will host a variety of events to further educate the Notre Dame community about LGBTQ achievements, said senior and event coordinator Casey Scott.

While Scott said she believes an understanding of LGBTQ history is important across society, she sees an “especially important” role for promoting awareness at Notre Dame.

“I think it’s very obvious to anyone who goes here that homosexuality is an issue on campus,” Scott said.

The week kicked off Monday night with a prayer vigil “honoring all of the deceased members of the LGBTQ community” as part of the communion of saints, Scott said.

Dillon rector Father Paul Doyle presided over the vigil, which was held in the Log Chapel, Scott said.

“In this way, we honor not only those who came before, but we also look forward to that day when all shall be included, rejoicing before Christ’s throne,” Scott said.

Today begins the LGBTQ Week’s ally pledge that will run through Thursday.

Those who make the pledge will be “pledging their commitment to live in the spirit of inclusion,” Scott said, including “standing up against discriminatory language and behavior against [the LGBTQ community].”

Members of the Core Council and peer educators will be at the pledge tables from 12 p.m. to 3 in LaFortune and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in North and South Dining Halls, Scott said.

A film screening of the film “Out of the Past” will be shown at 8 p.m. Wednesday night in the Carey Auditorium of Hesburgh Library.

“The film is about gay and lesbian history, ranging from nearly 400 years ago to the modern day,” Scott said. “There will be a panel after the film as well, made up of faculty and students to discuss the film.”

The historical “Out of the Past” was chosen because it highlights prominent figures in the LGBTQ community, Scott said, which is sometimes seen as a community without a history since it is not something that students usually learn about in grade school.

The “Heterosexism & Homophobia: Fine by Me?” event will take place Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 in 141 DeBartolo Hall, a discussion with both heterosexual and gay, lesbian and bisexual students, Scott said.

A poster campaign has also been launched to spread the message of LGBTQ History Week. “Basically the posters are just featuring different prominent figures throughout history and in modern day society who have contributed to society in many different ways,” Scott said. “[The posters are] basically just to highlight these figures to create a more explicit history for the LGBTQ [community].”

These prominent figures, she said, include authors, athletes, composers and other individuals who have made contributions to society.

“Through this event, we hope to raise awareness about LGBTQ history, and commemorate inspiring individuals within this community who have helped create that history,” Scott said.