UT Hosts First OUTstanding Conference Discussing LGBTIQ Issues

KNOXVILLE—A group of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Knoxville community members have organized a conference to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) issues.

“OUTstanding: A Seminar Exploring LGBTIQ Diversity” will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, at the Black Cultural Center on the UT campus. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees can choose from a wide range of presentations, workshops, speakers, and panels and enjoy a free catered lunch.

Shane Windmeyer

Shane Windmeyer

Shane Windmeyer, the opening keynote speaker, is a leading author on gay campus issues and a national leader in gay and lesbian civil rights. He is co-founder and executive director of Campus Pride, the only national organization for student leaders and campus organizations working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. In 2006, he wrote The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students, the first-ever college guide profiling the 100 best LGBT-friendly campuses. He will present “What’s Your Gay Point Average.”

Keith Boykin

Keith Boykin

Also speaking is Keith Boykin, editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor, co-host of BET TV talk show My Two Cents, and former special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He is a veteran of six political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns. Each of Keith’s three books has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and he won the Lambda Literary Award for his second book, Respecting the Soul.

There will be various presentations and workshops during the day touching on a gamut of LGBTIQ issues regarding cyberspace, Christianity, and baby boomers, among others.

There also will be a panel discussion entitled, “Where Do We Go from Here?” with local leaders of the LGBTIQ community, including Ben Beyers of Tennessee Equality Project; Juliet Meggs, a counseling psychology graduate student at UT; Carol O’Donnell from COLAGE; and Lisa Howe, former Belmont University coach. Panelists will discuss the most effective strategies to promote compassion and equality for LGBTIQ and all people given current political, social, and economic developments in the U.S. and Tennessee.

One of the main goals of the seminar will be to encourage ongoing advocacy and engagement of students, faculty and staff in LGBTIQ cultural issues.

On US campuses, the environment for LGBTIQ students, faculty and staff continues to be a struggle. A 2010 report issued by the Q Research Institute for Higher Education consisting of more than 5,000 participants from all fifty states found that a “chilly” and unsafe environment persists for LGBTIQ students, faculty, and staff in higher education institutions.

OUTstanding is sponsored by Ready for the World, the Recreation, Entertainment and Social Board, the Central Program Council, and the OUTreach LGBT, and Ally Resource Center.

The OUTstanding seminar has support and encouragement from the Commission for Blacks, the LGBT Commission, the Dean of Students Office, the Division of Student Life, the Feminist Action Collective, the Master of Science in Social Work Organization, and several faculty and student organizations from multiple departments across campus.

For the full conference schedule, see http://outstandingseminar.wordpress.com/.

For more information, contact conference organizers at Oustandingutk@gmail.com or 812-606-1427.

C O N T A C T :

Stephanie Dixon (865-974-2125, sdixon7@utk.edu)

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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